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Edmontonians flock to Old Strathcona for 2016 Pride Parade

Edmontonians gather on Whyte Avenue to watch the Edmonton Pride Parade on June 4, 2016.
Edmontonians gather on Whyte Avenue to watch the Edmonton Pride Parade on June 4, 2016. Julia Wong/ Global News

A tradition that first began in 1980 continued in Alberta’s capital on Saturday as thousands of people converged on the the community of Old Strathcona for the 2016 Edmonton Pride Parade.

A large crowd gathered to watch as the parade got underway in the late morning, slowly winding its way down Whyte Avenue from 108 Street before ending up at the End of Steel Park.

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The Edmonton Pride Parade is generally seen as the unofficial launch of the Edmonton Pride Festival, which runs from June 3 to June 12 this year.

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The 2016 parade’s grand marshal was Edmonton’s Making Waves Aquatics Club, a masters swim club and water polo team for the gay and lesbian community and their friends in Edmonton.

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Edmonton’s first Pride celebration was held 36 years ago and saw about 75 people take part in a baseball game and have a bonfire but the event has grown steadily ever since. The event is organized by the Edmonton Pride Festival Society, a non-profit organization that aims to celebrate and unite the LGBTQ+ community within the city.