Nova Scotia

Thousands of people attend Truro's 1st pride parade

Truro held its first-ever pride parade on Saturday and it attracted thousands of spectators.

'We never thought we would ever see something like this in Truro,' says organizer

Truro Coun. Gregory MacArthur said Saturday's pride parade is a sign that the town has moved forward. (Steve Berry/CBC)

After years of opposition from town politicians, Truro held its first ever pride parade under a warm, sunny sky on Saturday and thousands of people showed up to watch.

"Historically, it's just major. It's really major. We're so excited. It's just been a long time coming. We never thought we would ever see something like this in Truro," said Al McNutt, the parade's organizer. 

McNutt, 66, has lived in Truro his whole life. The supervisor and director of the Northern Healthy Connection Society and social activist said he always felt people in his town were accepting of his sexual orientation.

Sign of the times

"I've never had any trouble as far as being an openly gay man and also openly living with HIV. I've never really had any issues in this town," he said. "Even when we had that trouble with the flag previously, I never really looked at Truro as being homophobic."

Organizers say Truro's first pride parade has been a long time coming. (Steve Berry/CBC)

The town refused to raise the rainbow flag for nearly a decade. In 2007, council voted on the issue and rejected flying the flag. And the town's mayor said at the time, he couldn't support it.

Toni MacAfee, a postal worker from Truro, remembers that time well. She said it was encouraging to see so many people out supporting Saturday's event.

'There was always pride' in Truro

"I think this was always the sentiment in the community. I think there was always pride and support here in Truro," said MacAfee.

"I think the council at the time made a really bad decision that ended up representing the town." 

Last month, Truro raised the flag for the first time to honour victims of the mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando. 

Truro's first pride parade Saturday drew big crowds. (Steve Berry/CBC)

The flag went up again this week to mark pride events.

Will Stone, who grew up in Truro, came back Saturday to watch the town's historic pride parade. 

'It's a nice change'

Truro raised the rainbow pride flag for the first time in June after the mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando. (Steve Berry/CBC)

"It's nice to see people have more broad mind sets, they're starting to be a little more open to things that may not have been accepted in the past. It's a nice change," said Stone.

Coun. Greg MacArthur said the parade is a sign that Truro has moved forward.

"This crowd here shows that we're an open community and that change has come," said MacArthur. 

With files from Steve Berry