PrideHouse officials either side of Canadian football star Erin McLeod posing today following the opening ©PrideHouse

PrideHouse Toronto officially opened its doors today with the aim of ensuring the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games is the most inclusive multi-sport Games ever for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) athletes.

It was declared open by Erin McLeod, an openly gay member of the Canadian football team, along with City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) chief risk officer Laura Dottori-Attanasio.

A packed three-week schedule of programming, live entertainment, sports and more will now be rolled out, following unprecedented financial support from the Province of Ontario, City of Toronto, and lead partner CIBC.  

A specially commissioned anthem written by Charlie Andrews for LGBTQ athletes, called “Strive” has also been produced.  

It is being billed as the first occasion on which a Pride House will have an official integrated relationship with a Games Organising Committee, with Toronto 2015 providing full support to ensure its inclusion goals are achieved across the Games.

“We’re inviting LGBTQ people and allies - everyone - to come and celebrate, especially at our Games Opening Ceremonies celebration this Friday,” said PrideHouseTO co-chair David Morris.

“With Games viewing, parties, celebrity-spotting and LGBTQ programming, PrideHouse will be the best place to join in the excitement.”

A 47,000 square foot PrideHouse Pavilion located in downtown Toronto at The 519 offering Games viewing and LGBTQ programming will form the focus of entertainment, with specially commissioned art installations also set to feature.

There will also be live concerts, and a CIBC sports zone in the city centre offering opportunities for people participate in, or watch, activities including volleyball, fencing, goalball and wheelchair basketball.

A "PrideHouse That Kids Built", a professional art installation made from "bricks" designed by schoolchildren across Ontario will form another highlight, located at Ontario’s Celebration Zone at Harbourfront Centre.

Regional PrideHouse activations have also been installed in Ajax, Sudbury, Ottawa, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, London and Guelph.

PrideHouse Volunteers in front of the PHTO Pavilion ahead of the opening today ©PrideHouse
PrideHouse Volunteers in front of the PHTO Pavilion ahead of the opening today ©PrideHouse

“As the first major corporate partner in the history of the PrideHouse movement, CIBC is proud to help set a new standard for LGBTQ inclusion in multi-sport games,” added CIBC’s Dottori-Attanasio.

“We invite everyone to join us at PrideHouseTO throughout the Games.

“With visitors from across the Pan American region here, there’s no better time to celebrate inclusiveness, change perceptions and ensure everyone feels welcome.”

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