The 2012 Toronto Pride parade brought out a lot of different feelings: confusion (as to why GO Transit was there, and how its bear mascot avoided heat stroke in that furry costume); elation (as co–grand marshals, Toby’s Law advocates and MPPs Laurel Broten and Cheri DiNovo were ushered in by leather-clad dykes on bikes); surprise (thanks to the popularity of water guns, which made the white-shirted author of this post look like he was competing in a wet T-shirt contest); fatigue (mostly with arbitrary corporate tie-ins, like the people jumping around in Kangoo boots, riding electric bikes and doling out ginger snaps). And, um, obviously, pride—it’s hard not to feel proud of Toronto when thousands come out to support a diverse group of marchers that included a steelworker union, the Native two-spirited community, reps from AIDS hospice Casey House, and a couple who repeated their wedding ceremony on a Windsor Arms–sponsored float over and over again.
We happy-cried a little (okay, a lot) when the supportive parents of PFLAG walked by with handmade signs, and we giggled a little (okay, a lot) when we saw a Jewish gal carrying a sign that read “I knished a girl and I liked it.” In the two hours or so it takes to watch the spectacle from start to finish, we met scores of visitors to the city—including a British crew who said that spectators in the London parade can join the march whenever they like, instead of being kept behind a barricade and stuck standing under the hot beating sun. We think turning Yonge Street into a giant Pride street party sounds like a recipe for the best Sunday ever. But until that day, we’ll take the floats, flags, kids with glitter face paint, puppies dressed in festive outfits and thousands of joyful supporters. Rob Ford, you really missed out.