TORONTO, Ont. – The Pride Parade pounded the Toronto pavement on Sunday, while critics continue to pound Mayor Rob Ford for not showing up.
Many people are upset over Ford’s unwillingness to attend the major pride events and instead, spend the weekend at the cottage.
But, some parade-goers said that while there was a quiet undercurrent of the “mayor should be there,” overall, the mood of the parade was positive.
From colourful floats to interesting costumes, Sunday’s event was a lively one, especially with sunny and hot weather. About one-million people were in attendance.
The diversity of this year’s pride was strong, but the rumblings of who “wasn’t” there would not go way.
Ryerson’s student union marched with a sign that read ‘We found Waldo, but where’s Rob Ford?”
William watched the parade with his partner said something like this transcends one’s personal beliefs.
“It’s a lot of money coming into the city, a big weekend all-around in Toronto, and the Mayor should be around for something of this magnitude,” he said.
John, who rode a Harley in the parade, said it’s sad, but he’s moving forward.
“I remember the good old days of mayor Mel and the fire engines … but each person has their choice, and I don’t hold it against him. I think he is going to do a good job for the City of Toronto. I’m more interested in his financial responsibility,” he said.
But, Kelly said the amount of people and families that came out to watch bodes well for the future. “I think it shows that more tolerance is on its way,” she said.
Two former Toronto mayors David Miller and Barbara Hall were at the parade, taking the sting out of it for some that Ford was a no-show.
Meanwhile, thousands came out to march in Saturday’s Dyke March, and although the mood was cheery, there was an undercurrent of anger in the crowd.
One lady who marched at the Dyke March on Saturday told 680News that if the Mayor did show up, he would get a scolding.
“You are the mayor of this city. In the gay or metro area, there’s about six-million people. You can’t pick and choose who lives in this city, and if you think you can then you got another thing coming.”
Erin, who marched in the Dyke March, wore a Rob Ford mask and carried a sign that said, “I’m not here.” She told 680News that it is no consolation if Councillor Doug Ford shows up. “I don’t think that counts. You can’t just pass it off.”
Christine, another marcher, told 680News that she is furious. “He doesn’t want to accept that fact that Pride is a part of Toronto. I think he’d be happier if there were no gays or lesbians in the city.”
Some people told 680News that if the Mayor reconsidered and decided to march in the parade, it would be too late, “the irreparable damage has been done.”
However, Irene Miller from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays said they welcome anyone, including the mayor.
“It’s open to any of their family members who sincerely want to learn how to support the community.”
“[This is so that] everyone in the lesbian and gay community can feel valued, respected and supported,” Miller said.