'It never rains on our parade'
It was grey and wet and, of course, political — but how gay it was. And lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning and two-spirited.
It was grey and wet and, of course, political — but how gay it was.
And lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, questioning and two-spirited.
Tens of thousands of spectators, lined a dozen deep at some points along downtown streets, camped out in the rain for prime viewing of yesterday’s Pride Parade. Tourists and families, lovers and supporters, wearing raincoats and toting cameras and umbrellas of all the colours in the rainbow.
How could it rain on this parade, the culmination of Pride Week and seemingly blessed most years with blues skies and warm temperatures?
With minutes to go, soggy seemed certain. Music pumped from beer gardens along Church Street to empty tables. Men in drag and painstaking makeup jobs sought shelter under awnings.
It was also cool. Any nipple that was visible or hiding under tight fabric was standing at attention. There was shrinkage. An Elvis sporting mutton chops and gold sunglasses and nothing else might have preferred not to have left the building.
And then, just as the parade made its 2 p.m. start from Church and Bloor streets, the rain simply stopped and did not start up again.
“It never rains on our parade. Before and after, yes, but never during, “said Ian Foote, 30, who watched with friends from a front row spot. “It’s great to see all of the groups from the community out here. It’s really a celebration of life and who we are and acceptance.”
That’s not to say people did not get wet. Water-gun battles were waged throughout the parade, with those on floats in better supply of ammo and weaponry than most spectators.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was sprinkled by some crossfire, or perhaps he was the intended target, as he shook hands along the route and posed for pictures. Halfway down Yonge Street, he ducked left with handlers and slipped out of the parade.
Toronto, now eight days into a municipal strike that has, among other things, affected garbage collection, is making good on its offer to clean up after the parade — even though the event is not a city event. Other city events have been cancelled due to the strike. Pride cleanup could take several days.
Although regular bins along streets were full and out of operation, empty mobile ones sat beside them. Errant freebie condoms, gum and beads and Pierre Trudeau lanyards from the Liberals — tossed from floats — also added to the inevitable mess along the route.
By 5 p.m., the sun was shining as the last of a parade that included floats from corporations, churches, unions, government, universities, and emergency responders, had arrived at the finish point near the Gay Village, and those beer garden seats were empty no longer.