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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi will lead the gay pride parade on Sept. 4. ((CBC))

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi will be the grand marshal in this year's gay pride parade, he confirmed on Monday.

"Yeah, you know, I marched in it last year because I really believe as mayor you're mayor of all Calgarians," he said. "And, you know, I'm happy to go to all kinds of cultural festivals and other things for different groups."

The parade starts at 12:00 p.m. on Sept. 4 at Olympic Plaza. The procession will travel west along Eighth Avenue, winding up at Shaw Millennium Park for a street festival.

Pride week runs from Sept. 1 to 11.

Toronto mayor Rob Ford faced criticism  for not taking part in any of that city's gay pride events.

He said he had long-standing plans to spend that time at his family cottage instead.

But Nenshi defended Ford's decision, saying he understands how hard it is for public figures to hang on to their family time.