DailyXtra: Pride stories, Tim Hortons, and Halifax

I took a mini-holiday from Xtra while I spent most of last week Fringing — saw 14 shows, my new Toronto record! — but I still managed to pack in a bunch of stories since I last filed one of these updates.

Pride week is always a busy season for Xtra. Right before the weekend kicked off, I filed a brief about anonymous threats against Premier Kathleen Wynne which were related to the Pride festivities.

On Pride Day, I snagged an interview with Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair, where we chatted about the upcoming by-election and the bears for Mulcair contingent (which didn’t end up marching this year). Mulcair is very proud of his bear following, but the real question, which I didn’t get to ask, is what has he done to win over the twinks and hipster gays who supported Peggy Nash in droves during the leadership contest? Isn’t he worried that all this bear love might drive them to the Liberals? (Hipster gays vote Liberal ironically). The best part of the interview is when Mulcair notes that a Conservative minister has one of those Bears for Mulcair signs in his office. Can you guess who?

I would have liked to interview Trudeau over the weekend, but people at the Toronto Centre Liberal Association didn’t respond to my (single, short-notice) request.

There was real controversy and sad news over Pride weekend, when Slacks’ shut its doors in mid-June only to be reopened, perhaps illegally, by a former rival. Slacks’ former owner is now suing her landlord and the former rival who used her space and equipment over Pride weekend.

I’m sad to see Slack’s go, especially as I was just starting to go regularly to its queer comedy open mics. But if the rumour that the landlord is just trying to empty out the block for a redevelopment is true, the thing I’ll be most upset about will be the loss of Pizza Nova. It really is the best slice on Church St, despite its wonky hours and frequently poor selection.

(Hey Pizzaiolo? Put out some Tabasco sauce, please?)

Slightly out-of-order, but still Pride-related: Toronto City Council passed a new anti-discrimination bylaw that specifically targets Pride. This was originally meant to finally end the defunding campaign related to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, but honestly, who knows? It doesn’t put any new requirements on Pride than were already in place, and nothing in the bylaw really bans QuAIA from marching, so I can’t imagine how this makes the zealots on Council happy. I guess we’ll see in 2014, when Councillor James Pasternak will be anxious to wheel out something to show his Jewish constituents that he’s done for them.

An old travel article I wrote about Halifax finally went live! Go enjoy all my cheesy maritime puns!

Then there was a conference of “radical feminists” that was excluding transwomen and sex workers from participating. Why on earth transwomen would want to be involved with this group, I’ll never understand.

Finally, today I filed a story about how Tim Hortons’ instore wifi service was blocking DailyXtra because it considered the gay news site to be inappropriate for public viewing. This is my most widely spread story in a long time, with The Star, CBC, CTV, Global, and more picking it up before it came to a happy end. Tim Hortons has since apologized and says it is working to unblock the web site.

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