"Happy Pride!" - The inclusive colours of Toronto Pride Parade 2017

Every year on the last Sunday of June or the first Sunday of July, Toronto erupts into colours of joy as the world comes down to the city for the Toronto Pride Parade. Just by luck, I happened to be in the city during this week and witnessed one of the largest gay Pride parades of the world, and what an experience this was! Truly magnificent :)

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
The Pride flag at the Pride parade in Toronto

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Happy Pride everyone!

Toronto Pride Parade 2017 men underwear
Getting ready! 

Grooving to the music

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
"We love human rights"

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A Muslim guy at the parade

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Nameless - the fantastic organiser of the event!

Toronto Pride Parade 2017 black gay man
Like a superstar!

History of Toronto Pride Parade

Toronto in 1981 was far different from what it is today. The LGBT community was not organised and they were at best tolerated in the society. The same year there were numerous raids across four gay bathhouses in order to rid the areas around the gay ghetto, of crimes. This came to be known as Operation Soap.

The raids took in February and over the next few weeks various gay groups came together to protest their marginalisation and discrimination, and this finally culminated in a 'Gay Freedom Rally' on March 6. This was the first Pride Parade of Toronto.

However, the first ever Pride Parade in the world took place eleven years earlier in New York, United States, in 1970. The term Gay Pride started being used from 1980 onwards.

Tips for visiting Toronto Pride Parade

Events: there are three different events on three different days, and each one follows a slightly different path. Check the event that you wish to attend and go accordingly.

Here are the three events:
Dyke Parade
Trans Parade
Pride Parade

Time: usually the Pride Parade starts at 2PM, and it's more or less on time. However, of you want a great place in the crowd, reach an hour and half in advance, around 12.30PM.

Where: the parade typically starts from the junction of the Bloor and Church street, and is one of the best places to start too. This is where usually Justin Trudeau also joins the parade, so it's the best place to see him too. Stand on the left of where the Church street meets the Bloor street, at the curved edge behind the barricade.

Most people stay at one place only for the entire parade, but I would recommend moving down the Bloor street and further down the Yonge street after an hour or so. The parade is much more alive and so is the crowd further down the road.

You can also do what I did - I walked all the way back to where they participants were getting ready and then joined them for the parade itself. This part of my Pride parade experience was perhaps the most beautiful one. I became one with the people I was there to cheer for, and could photograph them all at close quarters. This isn't necessarily what I would recommend doing though - I had a big camera with me, but no press pass, but everyone assumed I was one of them.

Things to carry:

To make sure you are prepared to enjoy the Pride event to the fullest, here are some suggestions on what to carry with you. Make sure you travel light and keep your valuables safe.

  1. Camera, and a spare battery - I ran out of battery as well as space in my card and had to delete some old pics.
  2. Water bottle, or two - there are stalls on Church st which distribute free water bottles, but I didn't see any during the parade itself.
  3. Some light snack - the parade takes about 3.5 hours, and if you reach early, it can be very tiring
  4. A cap, an umbrella or a rain jacket, based on the weather prediction for the day
  5. Wear something colourful and be a part of the crowd :)


Toronto Pride Parade 2017
The Water Polo team

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Happy Pride! 

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Thumps up!
Toronto Pride Parade 2017 refugees
My door is open

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Grooving to the groovy music

My experiences at the Toronto Pride pride

I reached early as I wanted to understand the area a bit better and see the path in advance. But frankly speaking, nothing prepared me for the extravaganza on the streets later. The weather prediction for the day was gloomy, with very high likelihood of rains. While I was sitting inside a cafe and eating my brunch, there was actually a rather large downpour, though thankfully it was the first and the last shower during the day. The actual parade was bright and sunny!

Right at the start Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, was there with his family to support the cause. He was just about 10 metres away from me, but unfortunately I failed to get a good shot of him. Here's a good one from Toronto Star :)

A post shared by Toronto Star (@thetorontostar) on 


I started my time at the parade as a viewer from behind the barricades, but ended up joining the crowd - originally to take their pictures, but then simply to cheer them on from within. I am not gay, but to me it was still essential to support their rights to be themselves. Canada is one of those countries where it's easy to belong to the LGBTQ community, but the march is also in support for all others who are still persecuted in many other countries of the world.

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Support from one and all :)

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Break free!

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Age is certainly no bar
Toronto Pride Parade 2017 gay black man
Diva!

Toronto Pride Parade 2017 gay indian man
Garba at the Pride parade

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Selfie time

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Let's dance baby! 

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
And more smiles :)

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Everyone's excited :)

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Like a star!
Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Girls with a message

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Smiling away to glory!

Toronto Pride Parade 2017
Pride Love!

What not to like?

I didn't quite know what to expect from the parade, so was actually looking forward to cheering members of LGBTQ community as they marched on. But to my surprise, more than the community members, it was the commercial organisations with huge trucks/ buses/ cars and loud branding which dominated the parade.

I realised through later research that they were all the sponsors to the event and their participation actually made the event possible. Nevertheless, in my opinion they hijacked at least a large part of the celebrations. Even the Pride flags, pens, caps etc that they distributed had their names loudly written on them.

Video from the Pride Parade

If you would like to watch the parade in action, here's a video too. Just a word of caution - don't watch it in office :)

Comments

  1. Oh how very colorful and I love all the captures. Well done.

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  2. Lovely. Such colorful photos. Captured the spirit perfectly. Nice that you witnessed it. Feels great to support this cause.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Poonam. It was certainly special to support this cause - we all need to do more and stand by those who need us :)

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  3. Hi Sidd,

    Absolutely awesome. Loving these colors :) I dig the vibe too. The cause rocks and spreading the word brings the world together as we open up and embrace humanity. Thanks for sharing :)

    Ryan

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    1. Thanks Ryan...Happy that you enjoyed the pictures! It was quite an experience to participate in the event :)

      And yes, we all need to chip in and embrace humanity :)

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  4. Really fun look at Toronto Pride. It's always great when you find yourself travelling to a place that just so happens to be celebrating. Its experiences like these that open our minds and make us more open to the rest of the world.

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  5. I also saw some good videos of this the other day on the net and it looks like everybody was having a great time. Loving the photos in this post, captured the day perfectly. :)

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    1. Yes, everyone did have a great time during the parade! It was such a happy celebratory day :)

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  6. Very cool photos you have here! I think the spirit of Pride Parade is the same worldwide. I've been to Pride Parade in Berlin, Edinburgh and Helsinki and by looking at your photos here, I can feel the same love and passion I felt in the other cities as well :)

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    1. That's so interesting Fiona...I was wondering about the same thing today - how different are these parades in different parts of the world. Thanks for sharing that :)

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  7. Awesome photos ����

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  8. I saw the one in Midtown Manhattan this past Sunday. The last time I was in Toronto, the parade was going on, but I didn't see it. The story of Toronto sounds similar to New York. Never realized that it started in Chicago.

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  9. I was just at San Francisco's Pride Parade. Your photos are stunning!!

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  10. What F ing Pride do this nation have. After 150 years in the making, the citizens call themselves Canadians, and Multicultural; because they feel it is their country and have opened their doors to other inhabitants of the world: not bearing in mind , that their predecessors came on a boat during the Potato Famine or under French and British Colonization - to takeover the land forcefully away front the Native Indians who are the true Canadians with true Canadians Culture and identity.
    Canada now has netted a false culture, and named it Multicultural to implement fudge Packers, back door vendors, and slick lickers.
    Good for you Canada, this is what you get for living in dream land.

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  11. You have done an expectional job with capturing the real essence of the parade and oh boy, what pictures! Love all the colours and so lucky of you to have been able to capture this during your visit! On the side note, totally diggin on those shades worn by the organizer - so chic!

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  12. I have been following along your wonderful instagram posts from the gay parade in Toronto. Really great coverage. Wonderful to read as well in your post. Have a safe trip back home and good luck with the move to Mumbai.

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    1. Beautiful paraded by the prides.

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    2. Nice photographs with sequence. Support the prides and success in living happily ever with legit acceptance through out the globe ever.

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  13. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

    ReplyDelete

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