Rainbow crosswalks welcome visitors to Toronto’s WorldPride

Permanent rainbow crosswalks have been installed on Church St. in Toronto's gay village ahead of the 2014 WorldPride festival. Heather Loney, Global News

TORONTO – When throngs of visitors come to Toronto to celebrate WorldPride 2014, they will be welcomed by rainbow crosswalks bookmarking the city’s gay village.

The crosswalks were funded by the city and will remain a permanent feature at the intersections of Church St. and Alexander St. and Church and Isabella St. after the festival wraps.

“Pride Toronto is thrilled that rainbow crosswalks will welcome visitors to WorldPride this summer, and will remain a permanent legacy of the event for years to come,” said Kevin Beaulieu, executive director of Pride Toronto, a non-profit organization that hosts Toronto’s annual Pride Festival.

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The crosswalks are just one initiative the city and Pride Toronto have undertaken ahead of this year’s international Pride celebration.

The city and a number of Business Improvement Areas also erected 250 streetpole banners in locations across the downtown, which will remain up for the month.

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“Nothing tells an LGBT visitor – or a resident, for that matter – that you are accepted more than seeing the rainbow flag flying from our lamp poles,” said Chris Brillinger, executive director of Toronto’s social development department.

WorldPride is an annual international festival celebrating global queer communities and featuring parties, parades and programming about education, history and human rights.

WorldPride 2014 takes place from June 20 to 29.

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