#Toronto; #TorontoPrideparade2020; #VirtualParade; #NPPC
Toronto, Jun 29 (Canadian-Media): Toronto’s weekend Pride parade 2020 was held online June 28 for the first time after several decades due to COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Toronto Pride Parade 2020. Image credit: Facebook page
The inauguration of the parade was done with a ceremonial dance, followed by a greeting from Indigenous elder Laureen-Blu Waters.
The 90-minute-long event was hosted by Toronto comedian Brandon Ash-Mohammed, with an introduction of a history of Pride, featuring archival news footage of marches and protests from Toronto’s recent past.
Members of the community delivered various testimonials, and with an applause to the two main charities of Pride.
Cameos from Halsey and Alanis Morissette, Cozmic Cat, a Toronto-based DJ, Jully Black, and more was featured in the event.
Halsey and Alanis Morissette. Image credit: Video grab
This year's celebration of Sunday afternoon's Pride Toronto parade, a North American standout, not deterred by either a global pandemic or by local tech issues like occasional technical glitches, proved to be a successful substitute for the real parade.
The event was celebrated with mix of dancing, live performances, and montages with the spirit of freedom and inclusion the parade represents.
Women’s College Hospital was well represented with pictures and messages including health-care workers and hospitals.
A welcome speech was presented by Toronto's Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and said that it was her infant son’s first Pride and that the day would come when the celebrations would be able to return to the streets.
There were Zoom flashes of sponsors, supporters and advertisers wishing participants a happy Pride.
The broadcast included people from every walk of life with many references to Black Lives Matter.
A rally at Nathan Phillips Square, known as “teach-in” event was organized by the No Pride in Policing Coalition, a group of trans people, which supported Black Lives Matter Toronto demanding half the Toronto Police Services (TPS) budget cut so that more funds can go to Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities.
This rally was “a teachable moment for all of us, and the beginning of a larger global change to support the Black and BIPOC communities,” said Pride Toronto on its event page.
The start time of the parade was moved so as not to overlap with the “teach-in” event being held on Sunday at Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 2 p.m.
According to Pride Toronto’s annual report, around 150,000 people attended the parade last year, which made it the biggest on record.
Virtual attendance this year was less than a tenth of that: the Facebook stream of the event peaked at around 500 people, while the livestream, on twitch.tv, had around 800 viewers.
Canadian singer-songwriter Jully Black's surprise performance wrapped up the Pride parade for 2020.
When Sunday’s parade events wrapped up, Ash-Mohammed invited viewers to continue watching to witness the rally for defunding the police at Nathan Phillips Square organized by the No Pride in Policing Coalition (NPPC).