The week long Toronto Pride Festival, a celebration by the LGBT community, culminated on Sunday, June 29. The festivities climaxed at the Pride parade on Sunday which was attended by over a million people.
Parade on Yonge Street (picture ftom CTV website)
“Pride Week is an event held in Toronto, Ontario during the last week of June each year. It is a celebration of the diversity of the LGBT community and is the one of the largest organized Gay Pride festivals in the world, featuring several stages with live performers and DJs, several licensed venues, a large Dyke March, and the Pride Parade. The epicentre of Pride Week is the city’s Church and Wellesley village…” (read more on Wikipedia)
Some pictures from the parade:
I was told that visitors from neighboring districts of Toronto arrive into the city with their families for this event. Indeed there were several kids perched on their dads’ shoulders and armed with water guns that were used on unsuspecting revelers. There were also plenty of foreign tourists (especially Chinese and Indians) who wore a completely baffled look on their faces. But still, they stayed till the end (almost 3 hours). Clearly, everyone was enjoying this carnival.
Church Street, the primary street in the gay village, and the arterial streets were closed for traffic for last three nights. Streets were full people partying and exhibiting their artistic skills and other ass-ets 😉 The initial part of the week was dominated by several music, dance, theatre and such cultural events.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people out on the streets. I never saw so many people at the same time, it felt like a typical mela, with buskers, street food, chaos, people bumping into each other and an indescribably joyous environment.
People were happy. Simply happy. I have never seen so many happy people ever. It was insane.
Meanwhile, a Pride Parade was held in Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore too. Although the turnout was a modest 600-800 and the event barely made a blip in the news, yet this was a symbolic step towards social equality and an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation for millions of Indians.
There are many more (and better) pictures in the Pride Parade 2008 Photo gallery.