Large crowds packed the streets of Toronto under clear skies on Sunday to participate in Canada’s largest pride parade.
Colorfully costumed attendees turned the heat on as a show of support and celebration for Canada’s LGBTQ community, which has faced increasing threats in recent months and witnessed long-sought attacks on their rights. They made the Rainbow fans flap, cheer, dance, flap and blow bubbles.
The controversial situation has prompted Pride event organizers in and around Toronto to significantly increase their security efforts. Pride Toronto, organizer of Sunday’s parade, which will have at least 250 participants, said it spent twice as much on security for this year’s event as it did in 2022.
But some attendees said the extra security required made it all the more important to celebrate pride and show solidarity with the community.
Josie Santos and Sarah Rice met earlier in the day and sat together waiting for the parade to begin. Rice came from London, Ontario to join the gay community.
They noted that they were seeing LGTBQ people disenfranchised in some countries and felt it was more important than ever to come to the venue and be noticed this year. said there is.
“Pride is a celebration, but it’s also a protest,” Rice said.
That spirit was also evident on Yonge Street in Toronto, where marchers carried banners with slogans such as “Protect transgender youth” and “Protect transgender children.”
For Suntos, Sunday’s parade was the latest in decades of pride. The 65-year-old Toronto resident said she’s been coming to Pride since she had dozens or hundreds of attendees.
“We are here, loud and proud, we care,” she said.
The march was also attended by high-profile politicians, including NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and a handful of candidates hoping to be elected mayor in a by-election scheduled for Monday.
Olivia Chow, the front-runner, was expected to attend, along with other mayoral candidates Ana Bairao, Brad Bradford and Josh Matlow.
This report by the Canadian Press Agency was first published on June 25, 2023.