Winnipeg Pride parade caps 25th anniversary celebrations
The threat of a thunderstorm did not stop roughly 15,000 people from marching through Winnipeg's downtown in the 25th annual Pride parade on Sunday.
The colourful party featuring members and supporters of Manitoba's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and two-spirited community walked and rode on floats from the legislature through Broadway and York Avenue to The Forks on Sunday afternoon.
Organizers estimated that between 12,000 and 15,000 people took part in the parade. An after-party was to follow at the Whiskey Dix dance club.
Leading this year's parade were Chris Vogel and Richard North, who were instrumental in having gay rights included in Manitoba's Human Rights Act.
Vogel said the first Pride parade, in which 250 people marched on Aug. 2, 1987, was held in part to celebrate the inclusion of gay rights in the act.
"It was celebratory at the time because finally, after decades, we had succeeded in getting protection from discrimination added to the provincial human rights legislation, so that we couldn't be fired and evicted and denied business services … on a whim," Vogel told CBC News before the parade started.
These days, more than 30,000 people attend the Pride Winnipeg Festival, which has evolved from a one-day march to a 10-day event, according to the organization's website.
"The difference over the years has been numbers," Vogel said.
"We knew the potential half a century ago … but to actually see it in front of you, to have it manifest, and with the degree of energy and enthusiasm and joy, that's something."