Pride festival organizer says Toronto ‘streets are overflowing’

A Canadian flag seen at the Dyke March in downtown Toronto, Ont., June 29, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan

TORONTO – An organizer of Toronto’s gay pride festival says this year’s event is shaping up to be the biggest one yet.

Pride Toronto co-chair Sean Hillier says there have been a record number of groups registering to take part in WorldPride Toronto and that the “streets are overflowing” with people attending.

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The festival kicked off on June 20 and the main event, the pride parade, will take place Sunday.

Hillier says more than 350 groups have signed up to take part in the march along with 12,500 marchers.

The Pride Parade is expected to be the highlight of the week’s festivities drawing over 200,000 watchers.

He says that this year’s annual festival being designated a WorldPride event by a global gay and lesbian group has boosted the number of people attending from abroad, such as more than 400 delegates attending a conference on human rights.

Earlier Saturday thousands gathered in the downtown for the annual Dyke March, which began at Allen Gardens before moving west along Carlton Street and then up Yonge Street.

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Dykes on Bikes at the Dyke March during Pride, Toronto, Ont., June 29, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan.

This is the 34th year Toronto has held the gay pride festival.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are all to attend a streetside service by the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto officiated by an openly gay pastor on Sunday morning

Earlier this week over 100 couples were married at The Grand Pride Wedding involving couples from across Canada as well as participants from countries where same sex marriage is illegal.

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