Nominated for: inviting Toronto to honour and express its pride on a world stage.
Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 5 p.m. on December 30. At noon on December 31, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.
This past summer, Toronto showed its pride on a global stage. From June 20 to 29, the city played host to WorldPride 2014, an event that promotes LGBT issues internationally through festivals, conferences, and, of course, parades.
Kicking off with an opening ceremony that featured a concert and flag-raising (attended by Gilbert Baker, the man who designed the rainbow flag) and closing out with a musical extravaganza, the Pride Toronto–hosted event brought tens of thousands of people to the city for nine jam-packed days.
But Pride is more than just a movable, vibrant street party. As Kevin Beaulieu, former executive director of Pride Toronto, told Torontoist:
We celebrate, but it’s a celebration with a purpose. We will have about 400 people at the WorldPride Human Rights conference, including about 150 presenters, thinkers, activists, and artists from over 50 countries, for a dialogue about human rights in our communities worldwide. That’s central to what WorldPride is. We can take for granted here that it’s a celebration, and that nearly the whole city comes out to celebrate with us, but that’s not the case everywhere.”
In a year when our then-mayor demanded that the Pride flag—raised in solidarity with LGBT athletes at the Sochi Olympics—be taken down, it was heartening to see nearly the whole city come out and celebrate: crosswalks, libraries, and TTC buses wrapped themselves in rainbows. And on the final day, after the parade had concluded, the sky itself joined in, giving its celestial stamp of approval to the proceedings by producing the real thing.
WorldPride 2014 inspired our city to celebrate with a purpose: for inviting Toronto to honour and express its pride for all the world to see, WorldPride is a 2014 hero.