While I was in Toronto a few weeks ago, my friends and I attended the Pride parade.
Now, I am no stranger to parades. Nor am I a stranger to Gay Pride. I was pretty excited to see this particular parade - I heard SO MUCH about it from everyone in Toronto. Whenever we'd say we were visiting from Miami, people would ask, "Are you in town for Pride?"
They said that Pride is the single biggest income producer for the city - the biggest tourist attraction as well. I was psyched!
I went to the parade with my friend from Miami and our friend that lives in Toronto. Our local Canadian knew better than to arrive when the parade began, so she got us to our predetermined corner about 45 minutes early. That in itself was hilarious, because a group of men tried to somehow cut directly in front of us - we were standing against the rails - and we were having none of that. Enter the coughing, sneezing, jerking flags around precariously...they ended up moving pretty quickly! So we ended up with a perfectly unobstructed view of the intersection where the parade was going to come through.
Now, I am used to pretty audacious parades, like Fantasy Fest in Key West each October. I expected a lot of drag queens, costumes, etc. The Pride Parade in Toronto is actually more about politics and less about fun. Which is fine, and quite necessary, I suppose. I still saw a few interesting sights...like this guy. I don't know how the hell he walked around in those heels - I know I sure couldn't have!
The parade consisted of groups coming through showing their support of Gays and Lesbians. Most carried signs but a few dressed up, like Mr. Looney Toons in the photo above. There were a few groups that really got into the spirit of things, but this is a relatively family-friendly blog so I will skip those photos!
Something I found a little strange is that Toronto's mayor, Ford, was not present at the Parade. It was the theme of the day - "Where's Ford?" Apparently, he thinks so little of his gay and lesbian constituents - and the biggest money making event in Toronto - that he went to his cottage (vacation home) for the weekend and couldn't be bothered to attend the parade. What a jack ass.
I had a hard time getting good photos because of the way we were angled - and the jerk safety officers who stood directly in front of us for the majority of the parade - but this sign cracks me up. It says "We Found Waldo, but Where's Ford?"
We had a great time cheering for the parade - and of course I grabbed a to-go container of Poutine before the parade began, so I was a happy camper anyway! We left after the Trojan float came through, because what better way is there to end a parade?