Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Joins Thousands Marching in Toronto's Pride Parade

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Joins Thousands Marching in Toronto's Pride Parade

Article excerpt

Trudeau marches in Toronto's Pride parade

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TORONTO - Canada's largest Pride parade marked another milestone Sunday as a sitting prime minister marched for the first time in a colourful celebration that was tempered by last month's shooting massacre in Orlando, Fla.

A river of multi-coloured floats and marchers came to a halt on Yonge Street and stood in silence along with the masses of onlookers to remember the shooting's 49 victims, predominantly LGBTQ.

Trudeau said the Florida tragedy is a reminder that "we can't let hate go by."

"We have to speak up anytime there is intolerance or discrimination," he said as the 36th annual parade kicked off.

Prominent in the procession was a pair of marchers who held a large black banner that read "Orlando" and "We march for those who can't."

A group of several marchers, dressed in pastel-coloured robes, each carried signs with the name and age of an Orlando victim as they worked their way down the route.

"The good part of it is that so many people came together," said Aydian Dowling, the parade's international grand marshal, of this year's parade in the wake of the horrors in Orlando.

Trudeau drew a boisterous reaction from those who lined the parade route -- he has taken part in the parade before, including last summer, but this was his first as prime minister.

Members of the crowd, some decked out in rainbow gear and outlandish costumes, posed for selfies with the prime minister while others chanted his name as he passed by.

Other politicians who marched in the parade included Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Rona Ambrose, interim leader of the federal Conservatives.

Tory said the Orlando mass shootings showed that "we've got things to do" to promote tolerance and inclusion for the LGBTQ community.

Before the festivities, Trudeau attended an outdoor church service in the heart of the city's gay village where he sang along to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way. …

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