Crowds gather as massive Pride parade set to take over downtown Toronto

Elias Hubbard
June 25, 2019

Kicking off at 2 p.m. from the corner of Church Street and Bloor Street all the way down Yonge Street to Yonge-Dundas Square, the Pride Parade draws a crowd of over 1-million festival-goers and many more watching at home.

"It's a wonderful privilege to again be walking in Pride here in Toronto, Canada's largest Pride parade", he said.

The parade will take place amid concerns of public safety in the wake of an altercation at Hamilton's Pride event last weekend. The Pride Market at Victoria Bridge runs Friday and Saturday.

This year's parade was missing Premier Doug Ford, who has said he wouldn't participate because uniformed police officers were excluded from the event for a third year in a row. Deputy Premier Christine Elliott represented the provincial government.

But Olivia Nuamah, Pride Toronto's executive director, said a group doesn't have to be ideal when it comes to LGBTQ rights in order to participate in the parade.

Thirty-six-year-old Ryan Singh says this is his 17th Pride parade, and he believes the celebrations are safer without uniformed cops.

With so many awesome and exciting events happening, Your Morning had a chat with the Executive Director of Pride Toronto, Olivia Nuamah, to put together a quick guide to all the celebrations this weekend.

Serial killer Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty earlier this year to murdering eight men with ties to the gay village.

"I like that everyone was calm and relaxed and there was no drama", she said.

"It's one day of the month of the year people like me can express themselves", said Syracuse resident, Peter Fennessey.

McArthur's crimes and the police's handling of them still have many in the LGBTQ community concerned about the force, Bain said.

Others felt differently. Andrea Moss, who is visiting from the Bahamas, attended her second Toronto Pride parade Sunday. There are also worries that police haven't been taking the deaths and disappearances of several transgender individuals seriously, she said.

It was the second mass gathering on the streets of Toronto in two weeks, after the victory parade for the Toronto Raptors, winners of the 2019 National Basketball Association championship.

Crowds climb construction scaffolding to get a view of the the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto, Sunday, June 23, 2019. Officers who aren't in uniform can still march.

More than 5,000 people from 130 different groups are to march in Saturday's parade.

It's the sense of community that makes the parade important to people like Dianne Fontaine - in her 13th year of the march with Dykes on Bikes.

"And I know there's lots of Conservatives out there who are celebrating happy Pride just like me", Raitt added.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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