With the success that was Niagara Pride and the fantastic representation of the University from Brock Pride, Brock has once again decided to show their spirit and support at Toronto’s most anticipated event of the year – WorldPride 2014, held in Toronto June 20-29.
Brock Pride is the official Brock University club devoted to creating a safe, social environment for students of diverse gender and sexual identities. They provide a social atmosphere that offers support for members of the LGBTQ community and their allies, dealing with relationships, coming out, sexuality and gender issues.
After beating Stockholm in the voting, WorldPride was decided to be held in Toronto this year. Pride Week, which takes place every year in Toronto, already brings at least a million people to the city, but for WorldPride, executive director Kevin Beaulieu says Toronto should be expecting up to 2 million people to show up to show their love and support.
Brock Pride has always represented Brock by marching in the Toronto Pride Parade, and this year they will be walking in the parade again and are excited to be a part of an even bigger WorldPride. “It will be bigger and better than ever, so we are expecting a bigger turn out from Brock Students,” said Brandon Vrysen, President of Brock Pride. They will be providing a bus to and from Toronto for students who want to march in the parade. The bus will cost $25 per person, which includes a free equality t-shirt.
Brock Pride also played a huge rule in representing Brock at Niagara Pride from May 30 to June 7, which is hosted annually by Pride Niagara. Brock Pride was in all the events at Niagara Pride this year. Brock Pride also had information table in the park on June 7, which featured a variety of artists including Drag Celebrity Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Rage. “In my capacity as President of Brock Pride, I spoke on behalf of LGBTQ youth at the pride flag raising ceremony. Brock Pride also received an award on behalf of Brock for best school for the LGBTQ during the Niagara Pride Unity Awards on June 4″ said Vrysen.
This is the first year WorldPride is being hosted in North America, and Toronto has really done a lot to show their welcoming attitude and spirit for the celebration. Just recently, rainbow crosswalks were painted on the intersections of Church St. and Alexander St. as well as Church St. and Isabella St. in celebration of WorldPride. It was painted in honour of this year’s celebration but will remain a symbol of how far the views of homosexuality have changed over the decades.
Beaulieu says being the first North American city to host the event is an honour for Toronto. “We’ve been building this for many years, first by building a successful Pride in Toronto and then in the past five years, planning to host the world. It’s a chance for us to welcome the LGBT communities and our allies from around the world and at the same time showcase some of the talent and arts and culture that happens here in Toronto.”
The festival has expanded from 3 days to a 10-day event. This year for the first time, opening and closing ceremonies will also be held for the event in Toronto. On top of the numerous events, corporate sponsors and attendance, the economic impact of WorldPride is also expected to surpass last year’s total of $286-million dollars in revenues.
The opening ceremony was held on June 20 with crowds surrounding Nathan Phillips Square as Melissa Ethridge, Steve Grand, Deborah Cox, Tom Robinson, Gavin Hope and the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Choir took the stage. Accompanied by fireworks and an enthusiastic crowd, it is clear that WorldPride 2014 will live to its hype.
To sign up to take the bus down with Brock Pride to WorldPride 2014 or to march with Brock Pride, visit the website at brockpride.ca. To find more information about WorldPride 2014, visit worldpridetoronto.com