Pride. In Toronto, Canada. 2017. What began years ago as a small political event on Church Street has grown into one of the most massive carnivals in North America, with well over a million attendees. Historically, it’s a “gay pride”, but it has morphed into a gigantic extravaganza where people of every race, color, creed, and sexuality fill the downtown to dance, party, and feel the groove. It’s proud and pagan.
Originally, it was a public display, a show of force, and an attempt to secure homosexual and lesbian equal rights under the law. It was a call to end fear, and to free gays from having to live their lives in a closet, their relationships hidden from view.
Now, at least in Toronto, Pride has become solidly mainstream. The downtown is filled to overflowing with celebrants— gay and straight couples, single men and women, kids, and even pets wearing rainbow flags.
While the Pride Parade is often viewed at the “big spectacle”, it’s really the fun of just walking around the downtown, especially Church Street, which is cordoned off for three full days. There, crowds wander up and down, checking out the information booths, shopping, buying meals at food wagons, and gawking at the incredible costumes. There is even public nudity which is accepted without a word.
While many cities still shun gays, the money generated by gay events is staggering. In Toronto, Pride dumps millions of dollars into the local economy. And favourable word-of-mouth keeps them coming.
Marketers have noted that gay tourism is “recession proof” and is, in general, quite steady through economic ups and downs. Friendships are made here, which encourages return trips and personal networks blossom.
I took a few pictures. Thought I’d post them. Hope you like them.
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