• June 20, 2014 10:30 PM

City of Toronto proclaims Pride Week at launch of WorldPride 2014

TORONTO, June 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto has officially proclaimed June 20 to 29 to be Pride Week, as Toronto hosts WorldPride 2014, an international event that brings together LGBTTIQQ2SA people from around the world to honour their past, celebrate the present and inspire a better future.

"Toronto has a long and proud tradition of advocating for LGBT human rights," said Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. "From the 1973 inclusion of sexual orientation in our Human Rights Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy to being Canada's first city to host a same-sex wedding, Toronto has led by example. We can all be extremely proud that Toronto is hosting an international event of this calibre."

Following the official proclamation, read by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale), the rainbow flag was raised over City Hall by its creator, Gilbert Baker. Performances by Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, Steve Grand and Tom Robinson were capped off with a fireworks and laser light show.

"With the support of sponsors, partners and funders like the City of Toronto, we have been able to organize an outstanding 10-day festival that includes a human rights conference, two marches and the WorldPride Parade, more than 170 affiliated events and partnerships with 17 major art and culture institutions," said Pride Toronto Co-Chair Shelley Craig. "What we have planned is a testament to the inclusivity of this city, this province and this country."

The City of Toronto, Tourism Toronto and Pride Toronto were awarded the event in 2009 through a competitive bid process. This is the first WorldPride celebration ever held in North America, and the fourth such festival in the world.

LGBTTIQQ2SA is an abbreviation used to represent a broad array of identities such as, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited and allies.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

SOURCE City of Toronto

For further information: Media contact: David Clark, Strategic Communications, 416-392-7542, 416-799-5713 (cell), dclark1@toronto.ca, http://www.city.toronto.on.ca