But first a few interesting statistics about Toronto Pride:
Toronto Pride is now the largest Gay Pride Parade in the world! This statistic being based on the number and variety of entries in the parade, parade route, length and number of attendees. This parade now attracts approximately 4 MILLION visitors and is just a small part of the enormous event that is Pride Week. There are concerts, family activities, vendors and other parades too numerous to mention.
What I find so exciting about the parade, and what stokes my own pride in my home country, is the sheer variety of entries. Not only are there gay clubs, AIDS hospices, and fetish fairs and stores represented, but EVERY major political party had a presence. There were several big name banks (Toronto Dominion being an enormous presence) and even the military takes part in the parade and also has a recruiting booth. The police are not only very busy and visible during pride week and in the parade, but their excitement and commitment to the project is displayed prominently by the rainbow buttons and beads that many of them choose to wear. And yes, as you will see, even many churches participate!
But the other thing that really strikes me about the parade and the week in general, is how free people are to be themselves. It is common place to see men or women holding hands or kissing each other affectionately on the street. To me, the crazy get-ups and eye-popping outfits, while they're all part and parcel of the theme of being yourself and being proud of it, come in a distant second to this simple display of freedom and acceptance. If only it could be so all year round.
And now...the pics:
The crowd along Yonge St. is just starting to build.
My "Pride Buddy" and me. In order to be sure to get a spot right at the barrier, we took our spot an hour ahead of the 2:00 start time. Even so, we had to jostle a bit to get in!
Rainbow coloured confetti is thrown from the roof tops.
Good Handy's provided the parade marshall for the day. Good Handy's is "Toronto's Pansexual Playground," and a spot that I'm not sure even I would brave to set foot in!
A lot of very short shorts along the parade route. As well as a lot of very HIGH boots!
A LOT of bare bums and harnesses.
Struck by the variety of body types that flaunted their stuff without any sign of self consciousness. That's what Pride is all about, after all.
The "Fag Bug". Visit http://www.fagbug.com/ and see what it's all about.
Some really amazing gowns. Not sure I'd wear them to the Christmas party but still....
The Totally Naked Toronto (TNT) men were a rather....er....vivid presence.
Not a traditional uniform, and I'm sure the majority of police are grateful.
Just a couple guys holding hands.
This costume was made entirely of plastic packing material. I can only imagine how hot it was.
Humidex hit 40C today.
It's that alien chick (well in this case that isn't exactly accurate-can you see the dangly bits?) from Empire Strikes Back!
I have no idea what the significance of the bubble was.
A variety of fruit were represented.
More guys holding hands. A lot of funky wigs, as well.
Just a really cool costume.
Just some really hot guys.
Yes, there were a number of children in the parade.
The clergy shared space with....
This was a new fetish for me. Gas masks that control air flow.
Throughout the parade there were these signs denoting various moments in Gay Pride history.
The Trojan Guys.
So, all in all a good time! Albeit a tad long. Longest parade in history, clocking in at a whopping THREE-AND-A-HALF hours! We didn't stick it out quite to the end. I think that's a lot to ask of anyone standing in one place. lol