“Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, everything that’s wonderful / It’s what I feel when we’re together.”
Although Lesley Gore may be slightly disappointed at the lack of sunshine and lollipops at Toronto’s Pride Parade on Sunday, I imagine that she would be happy seeing rainbows bringing everyone together.
This year marked Toronto’s 34th annual Pride Parade, where tens of thousands of people gathered along Yonge Street to watch the long procession march through. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from my first time at Pride, but I knew it would be a phenomenal experience. After all, they have to top last year’s World Pride event, which had drawn in an estimated one million visitors.
This year’s Pride Week (which is coincidentally a 10-day event) was especially special, as it marked the 10th year of Bill C-38, the Canadian law that gives same-sex couples the right to marry, and it also celebrated the recent legalization of gay marriage in the U.S.!
With all this excitement in the air, it’s no wonder why so many people braved the rain yesterday to come and support the parade.
Here’s what I learned while attending Toronto Pride:
Librarians will become your favourite people.
(If they weren’t already. I mean, they basically read all day and work in some of the coolest buildings in town.)
Break out the tie-dye shirts, colourful clothes, wacky beads, and creative costumes and accessories. I saw some creative angel wings and a feathered peacock back piece, both of which probably took months to make, so start preparing for next year!
Bring your dancing shoes.
Because every float is playing loud music and all the people in the parade are bringing the party down Yonge Street. Fair warning though: Your dance card will probably be filled quickly, so pack a few.
It’s not one giant party…
As Pride Week is a 10-day event, there are many different events, exhibitions and activities going on during the first 7 days. Pride Week ends with the Trans* March and Dyke March (both of which are more political), and the Pride Parade, which is more of a celebratory end to Pride Week.
… but it always ends as one.
After Pride Parade wraps up, between Bloor-Yonge and Yonge-Dundas will become one giant night club. Actual night clubs and bars in the Church-Wellesley area (also known as the Rainbow District) will also extend their business hours during Pride Week, so that 4 a.m. becomes last call. Get ready for fabulous costumes, light shows, music, dancing and confetti. All the confetti.
… Also be ready for some nudity.
Although I was foretold about this aspect of the parade, I totally forgot until an older naked gentleman gave me a pamphlet. It may seem a bit strange, but part of this openness of sexuality is being able to express it. Some are just more expressive than others. The police officers just smiled as they marched by.
Although LGBTQ rights are something we celebrate in this country, and now in many other countries around the world, we also have to acknowledge that there are still many barriers that some people in the LGBTQ community may face. Support them and let them know that they are loved.