New Brunswick

Pride parade welcomes Fredericton mayor

Fredericton is holding its second-annual Pride Parade Sunday.

Mayor Brad Woodside refused to proclaim a Gay Pride Day in Fredericton 16 years ago

Fredericton held its second-annual Pride Parade on Sunday.

One marcher represented the city's change in attitude toward alternative lifestyles over the years.

Mayor Brad Woodside made national news for refusing to proclaim a Gay Pride Day 16 years ago.

"This is not Toronto and we really don't like to be compared to what they're doing in Toronto."

Woodside later apologized and has since been supportive of the gay pride movement.

"The parade is on Sunday," Woodside said Friday at the raising of the rainbow flag at City Hall. "The mayor will be there. That's a commitment that I made."

On Sunday, Woodside took time to make music with other participants in the parade.

James Whitehead, the grand marshal of Sunday's parade in Fredericton, said this was a major step forward in how the movement is viewed in the city.

"As a leader in the community I think that helps change perceptions. I think he realizes what he did was wrong at the time and he's changed."

Another change was the name. It's now called simply the Pride Parade.

Bruce Dionne, who chairs the group organizing the parade and weeklong events, said the idea was to include everyone in the celebrations.

"I have a straight friend who wanted to be in the parade," Dionne said. "And he's not gay, definitely not gay. But he wants to be in the parade and to celebrate with us."

Dionne said the first Fredericton Pride Parade last year attracted about 600 people. He hoped to see at least 1,000 turn out Sunday.