The holiday season is upon us and while we could go out to any of the different holiday craft shows going on throughout the city, there is one that you should definitely throw your support behind and that is the Pink Market.
One of Toronto's first of its kind LGBTQ+ focused craft, art, fashion and literature events. This weekend, the Pink Market is offering up its version of a holiday market with PINK XMAS on December 12 and 13 at The 519 Community Centre. I had the chance to chat with Natalia Manzocco, organizer of Pink Market who told me a bit about the roots of the event and why Pink Market is so important to queer arts in general.
With so many different craft shows around this time of year, what makes Pink Market unique and special?
Natalia: There's definitely stiff competition for your holiday gift budget among the artisans of Toronto, and you'll find amazing finds at each of the craft events happening this time of year. (Hit the other markets in the ShopIndieTO crawl that weekend once you're done with us!) But we've got a fun, irreverent spirit, with a dose of queer-positivity and sex-positivity, that I think sets us apart (just look at the male burlesque acts at our launch party, or the hilarious props Becca Lemire always brings for her photo booths), and we're trying to make the event as immersive an experience as possible. Also, we will feature what will almost certainly be the largest collection of sparkly pink Dollarama Christmas ornaments in town outside of an actual Dollarama.
This time around you're holding the event at the 519, why the change?
Natalia: I owe that to my awesome co-organizer, Kyle Burton of Rice and Potato Workshop, who had been separately trying to set up a queer-oriented market of his own at the 519 around Pride 2015. They weren't able to do it then, since there was all kinds of Pride programming already happening there. But when we decided to join forces on a holiday market, he already had all the connections set up, and everything just fell into place. Artscape Youngplace is a gorgeous spot, but it's great to be able to bring our vendors to the middle of Toronto's oldest gay district this time around – and The 519 is such a cultural hub, with a huge community already built around it, so we're honoured to make our event a part of that.
Who are some of the vendors that people should watch out for and why?
Natalia: I'm really excited about Adrian Wu, a local fashion designer who does all kinds of cool sciencey things with clothes, like developing an anti-microbial fleece scarf for commuters. Christopher Rouleau is an awesome graphic designer who makes some gorgeous prints, and Scotty Graham designs some awesome Toronto-themed greeting cards and art. I'm kind of a beauty nut, and CANVAS Lacquer makes some pretty amazing custom-blended nail polishes I'll be stocking up on for sure. Also, we have not one, but two explicitly geek-themed vendors (Glitch Artwork and Book Nerd Embroidery), which is way up my alley.
Why do you think it's important to represent those in the queer community with their own show?
Natalia: I think it's important for the queer community in Toronto (and anywhere) to band together as much as possible and support one another. I find that even though Toronto has a very large LGBTQ+ population and is pretty queer-friendly across the board, it's sometimes tough to find ways to meet and connect with other folks who might be living a very similar experience to yours. I also feel like art-focused, daytime events help foster community and creative connections beyond a nightlife scene, and can help bring younger people into the fold as well. Basically, I think the more queer-designated and/or queer-friendly events and spaces this city has, the better.