The Toronto Pride Parade brought out hundreds of thousands of people to the downtown core to experience drag queens, naked bodies, sadomasochistic bikers and a good time. Canadian officials and celebrities came out for the gay pride parade.
Pride Week has ended for another year, but the Sunday conclusion was a big finale for one of the world’s biggest gay rights parades. Hundreds of thousands people lined up in the streets to celebrate and support gay rights and various community and LGBT organizations.
At the corner of Church and Bloor Streets, the parade kicked off with bikers, some dressed in S&M outfits, waving the Pride flag. It was followed by joyous groups that sprayed the audience with water, handed out bead necklaces and flags.
A lot of public and private officials marched in the parade. Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, a gay rights advocate who made a stop in Afghanistan this weekend to thank the Canadian military for their efforts, took part in the parade. Several members of City Council, including Michael Thompson, also marched in the parade.
Former Toronto Mayor David Miller, Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, Liberal Members of Provincial Parliament Glenn Murray and Kathleen Wynne and Ontario Liberal candidate Sarah Thomson all participated.
There are reports that more than one million attended Sunday for North America’s largest gay pride parade.
There was one absent individual, though, that has made local headlines for the entire Pride Week. Mayor Rob Ford no-showed the event – as he said he would – and spent the time with his family at the cottage up north for the Canada Day long weekend.
Adrienne Batra, the mayor’s spokesperson, confirmed to CP24 that Ford would remain in Muskoka. Ford will be the first Toronto mayor to miss the pride parade since 1994 when June Rowlands skipped it. Former Mayors Barbara Hall and Mel Lastman also marched in the parade during their tenure.
One gentleman dressed like Rob Ford. As he marched in the parade, he sported a large belly, a Rob Ford mask and boxers and handed out Rob Ford masks. Some floats had signs that read: “Stop Ford’s Cuts” and “Where’s Rob Ford?” One organization stated that “We found Waldo, but where’s Rob Ford?” and two photos of Waldo and Ford accompanied the sign.
Areas around Church Street will remain closed until Monday morning.
Toronto is scheduled to host the World Pride parade in 2014.