Brian Burke to be Calgary Pride Parade grand marshal

Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke will be the grand marshal for this year’s Pride Parade, organizers say.

Calgary Flames president of operations an 'outspoken supporter of the LGBTQA community,' organizers say

Pride Calgary lit up the Langevin Bridge downtown on Thursday morning in celebration of the organization's 25th anniversary. (Pride Calgary)

Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke will be the grand marshal for this year's Pride Parade, organizers say.

Pride Calgary officials made the announcement Thursday as they marked the organization's 25th anniversary by lighting up the Langevin Bridge in rainbow colours at sunrise.

"I am really pleased to say that after 25 years, a new day is dawning in our city where we have a society that is increasingly free from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. One that is open and accepting of all people," said Pride Calgary planning committee president Stephen Wright in a release. 

Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke will lead the 2015 Pride Calgary parade. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

"Mr Burke has been an outspoken supporter of the LGBTQA community."

In November 2009, Burke's son Brendan made headlines when he announced he was gay and talked about the challenges of playing sports growing up while coming to terms with his sexual identity. Three months later, he was killed in a car accident in Indiana.

With his other son Patrick, Burke helped found You Can Play, an advocacy program that challenges sports teams to stamp out discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Calgary Pride has grown from 5,000 attendees five years ago to 50,000 at last year's event.

Organizers expect that this year the festival will attract over 60,000 attendees.

To accommodate the growth, the parade is being moved this year from Eighth Avenue up to Ninth Avenue downtown.

Registration for the Sept. 6 parade opens on May 11 at 8 a.m.

Pride festivities run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.


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