Rainbow of revellers in Toronto WorldPride parade
Published Sunday, June 29, 2014 7:49AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 30, 2014 6:40PM EDT
More than 12,000 marchers took part in this year's WorldPride parade in downtown Toronto on Sunday, capping off a 10-day LGBTQ event that saw a record number of groups registering to take part in the annual festival.
Crowds of revellers lined the parade route -- which started in Toronto’s Church-Wellesley neighbourhood at approximately 1 p.m. -- as they cheered on participants. Many people in the parade donned rainbow-coloured outfits that have become a hallmark of the internationally renowned event.
This year marks the 34th time Toronto has hosted a pride parade and festival. But unlike previous celebrations, this year’s festival took on an international flavour as it was designated an official WorldPride event.
Toronto is the fourth city to host a WorldPride festival since they started in 2000. They have also been held in Rome, Jerusalem and London.
This year's festival included a human rights conference that was attended by hundreds of delegates from around the world.
Kenneth Emden, who travelled from the South American country of Suriname where he runs a gay rights group, told The Canadian Press that the festival is a testament to Canada’s openness.
"We are born with rights. And whenever you are free to enjoy those rights, it’s the best," Emden said. "I think Toronto WorldPride gives you the best opportunity, at this moment, to enjoy it and just live freely."
In comparison to previous years, this year's pride festival saw a sharp increase in the number of people taking part in the various events.
Pride Toronto co-chair Sean Hillier told The Canadian Press that the streets (were) overflowing" throughout the week at events.
With files from The Canadian Press