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2016 Calgary Pride Parade brings thousands to downtown core

Pride Parade takes over downtown Calgary
WATCH ABOVE: Thousands of people lined up along Ninth Avenue Sunday for Calgary's 26th annual Pride Parade. Tracy Nagai reports.

Thousands of Calgarians lined the downtown streets of Alberta’s largest city Sunday for the 26th annual Calgary Pride Parade.

Organizers said the 2016 edition of the event appeared to be larger than ever before.

“We’ve grown from 5,000 people attending the parade on the sidelines to 4,000 people being in the parade so I think that’s a huge growth,” Calgary Pride’s Craig Skelar said. “We’re going to see hopefully 60,000 people along the sidelines.”

“When I moved out here 10 years ago, I think the parade was 10 minutes long,” Wanda Cowtown, who took part in Sunday’s parade, said. “It’s grown since then and the pride just gets more and more out there.”

Calgary-raised musician Rae Spoon, a transgender person who grew up as a queer youth in a Pentecostal household, served as the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade.

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“It’s amazing you know,” Spoon said. “I never went to the Pride Parade when I was living in Calgary because I was living at home. It wasn’t safe for me. To have this many people here, I feel a lot safer and I think a lot of people do.”

READ MORE: Calgary Pride Festival 2016: 11 days of LGBTQ celebrations begin Friday

The parade is the signature event for the Calgary Pride Festival which kicked off on Aug. 26 and features 11 days of events aimed at celebrating the LGBTQ community.

Watch below: The crosswalk in front of Calgary’s city hall is painted, and for the first time the pride flag has been raised at McDougall Centre. All signs that Calgary is celebrating 2016 Pride. Bindu Suri reports.

Pride flag raised at McDougall Centre for the first time
Pride flag raised at McDougall Centre for the first time

Watch below: Calgary Pride’s Director of Government Affairs Craig Sklenar spoke to Global Calgary on Aug. 22, 2016 with details on how they hope to stop politicians who don’t support their cause from taking part in the annual Pride Parade.

Calgary Pride hopes to weed out politicians who don’t support the cause
Calgary Pride hopes to weed out politicians who don’t support the cause