Pride Parade returns to Toronto to cheers
Toronto is awash in rainbows.
People of all ages dressed in brightly colored clothing and wrapped in flags representing every niche of the 2SLGBTQ+ community lined the streets of downtown Toronto on Sunday for the annual Pride Parade.
The parade, the first in-person pride march since 2019, drew massive crowds, filling Yonge and Church Streets, and a section of Bloor Street, with revelers.
The mood was jubilant, with cheers often rising spontaneously among the crowds of people.
For many, the weekend was a time to reconnect with their communities after the closure of the COVID-19 festivities and the suspension of the street festival and annual Pride Toronto gatherings.
First-time Pride attendee Jamie McGuire said revealing his identity during the pandemic meant few opportunities to connect with people like them, and said they were “so excited” to walk alongside others. others celebrating their identity.
The march, McGuire said, was a signal that people were coming out of the pandemic “just as strong as ever.”
“It really shows how strong our city and our community are,” McGuire said of the massive turnout for the weekend-long event.
Celebrities of all gender expressions and sexual attractions showed up, including Tyler Herrington, who was also attending Pride for the first time.
Herrington, who identifies as aromantic, was excited to walk alongside others to raise awareness in the aromantic and asexual community.
“(People) don’t have a great idea what the (word aromantic) means or what it means to have little or no romantic attraction,” Herrington said, carrying a sign that read “I t ‘love platonically’.
Among the messages of support carried by the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays contingent, a staple of the parades, was a sign that read “labels are for canned soup.”
Jo Baker was attending Pride for the 18th time. “It’s great to see everyone so happy,” Baker said.
Marching among members of the 2SLGBTQ community were Toronto Mayor John Tory, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Deputy Premier Chrystia Freeland.
Amid cheers from onlookers, Singh frequently stopped for photo selfies. The large NPD contingent was closely followed by a tank carrying a DJ.
Unlike in years past, spectators were not separated from the parade route by metal barriers. Instead, people filled the streets and danced around the parade and floats.
Despite the lack of separation, the parade seemed to go smoothly, albeit slower than in previous years.
At the nearby street festival, away from the parade itself, other revelers browsed vendors, danced in the streets or took to the festival’s multiple beer gardens to dance and have a drink.
At the corner of Yonge and Bloor, near the start of the parade, people could be seen selling flags to wave. Other vendors were selling fruit and cold drinks for the hot day ahead.
As the streets packed with spectators, many pockets of downtown turned into impromptu dance parties. Music and bubbles filled the air, and despite the heat and humidity threatening a storm, the sun came out to brighten up the party.
The 2022 event comes amid rising tensions towards the 2SLGBTQ community in the United States and a mass shooting Saturday in Oslo, Norway, where a gunman opened fire on Pride celebrants .
This year, Pride organizers have stepped up security measures, with bag checks at the entrance to many events. The police were present throughout the parade.
Pride month isn’t over yet. Tuesday there is a free outdoor screening of a classic queer film at Fort York National Historic Site, starting at 7 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Finnish vocal ensemble Rajaton perform ABBA songs at Roy Thomson Hall.
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