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When Salah Bachir isn’t raising funds or hosting a gala, you’ll find him at the helm of Cineplex Media. A champion for the LGBTQ community, he’s raised millions in support of various causes and spaces, such as the 519 community centre in Toronto (a hub during this month’s Pride festivities). We caught up with him at his home, filled with works by Andy Warhol and Betty Goodwin, before his trip to San Francisco to receive an award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Salah Bachir

What kind of packer are you?
I’m an overpacker, so my husband actually packs for me. He’s a folder – very neat and orderly.

What are your favourite destinations?
I like to stay in the same places and go to the same restaurants when I travel, so it’s like a homecoming when I visit. London, Paris and New York top my list. In London, I like to stay at Claridge’s and eat Lebanese food at Ishbilia. We also go to Lebanon twice a year because we have a house in Kfarhata El-Koura. I have my own olive oil, called Salah’s Gold, that comes from the village.

Why is supporting the LGBTQ community important for you?
Because I’m gay, duh! We take it for granted in the bigger cities, but in smaller towns there’s still an incredible amount of homophobia, and young kids are coming out and need support. Places like the 519 are important because they’re gathering spaces for the community and centres for social change.

What’s your favourite Pride memory?
I’ve had the great honour to be the grand marshal of the Toronto Pride Parade twice. Last year, I used my Arab background as inspiration and dressed up like a Grand Sultan. I had 80 friends from the community marching ahead of the float, carrying the names of the victims from the Orlando nightclub shooting. I felt real pride in that moment.



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