“It’s not just the show that must go on, it’s our lives that must go on and it will,” said Executive Director of Pride Toronto Mathieu Chantelois during an interview on Global’s The Morning Show Monday morning.
“We will dedicate the parade to the victims this year and everything that we do for the rest of the month will be with the victims in our mind.”
The Pride Parade, which is scheduled for July 3, attracts thousands of people each year as floats and marchers wind their way through the streets of downtown Toronto.
“It’s a reality check as well when people ask, ‘Why do you need to have Pride in 2016? I didn’t think we need that to know why we need Pride,’ but more than ever it’s clear that we need to take the streets,” said Chantelois.
“We need to talk about human rights, we need to have conversations like this and we need to make a world a better place.”
Security is expected to be bolstered for the remaining days of the Pride festivities as organizers deal with the aftermath of the Florida nightclub shooting.
“Basically with what happened yesterday, now we know that nothing is safe,” Chantelois explained. “We knew this before as well. We already have a plan in place. But it’s more real than ever.”
Pride Toronto organizers said in a statement released on Sunday that they will work with their security team and city officials “to create a festival where safety and accessibility are a priority.”
Law enforcement officials in Florida say the suspect, identified as Omar Mateen, entered the nightclub with a high-powered assault rifle and fired into the crowd in what is being called the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
The alleged shooter, who authorities said had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 around the time of the attack, died in a gun battle with SWAT team members.
A candlelight vigil was held Sunday evening at Barbara Hall Park in Toronto to remember the lives lost in the tragedy.
Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took part in the event with both of them condemning the shooting.