TORONTO – The city will raise a rainbow flag on Friday, officially proclaiming June 20 to 29 Pride Week 2014.
The week of LGBTQ celebration and advocacy coincides with the international WorldPride festival, taking place this year in Toronto. It’s the first time the annual event has been held in North America.
Representing the city, councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam will raise the rainbow flag at the WorldPride opening ceremony in Nathan Phillips Square, which begins at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has voiced his opinion regarding pride celebrations and rainbow flags numerous times, will not be in attendance – he will return from rehab on June 30. Even if he wasn’t in a treatment facility, he likely wouldn’t have attended the Pride event.
Earlier this year the mayor said he would not attend Pride parade. “I’m not going to go to Pride parade,” he said. “I’ve never gone to a Pride parade, so I’m not going to change the way I am.”
And during the Sochi Olympics in Russia, Ford asked that a rainbow flag flying outside of city hall in support of gay rights be removed.
The WorldPride opening ceremony will also feature musical performances by Melissa Etheridge and Deborah Cox.
Artist and civil rights activist Gilbert Baker – the artist who designed the rainbow flag in 1978 – is also expected to attend.
© Shaw Media, 2014