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Toronto Pride parade gets extended route

The international grand marshal is a trans activist from Argentina

Spectators along the route of the 2012 Pride parade. Credit: Adam Coish

Pride Toronto (PT) is giving the city a taste of what to expect at WorldPride next year by extending the parade route to Yonge-Dundas Square for 2013.

The announcement from PT came via its Twitter account on May 22. Co-chair Sean Hillier says the Pride parade will be extra long this year, beginning at its usual start point – at Church and Bloor – and ending at Yonge and Dundas, where a stage and performers will be waiting to get the party started.

The decision has other benefits, as well, he says. It will likely make the parade route a lot less crowded.

“We are hoping to alleviate some of the crowds by spreading spectators out along a longer parade route, so people will have a better opportunity to actually view the parade and get close to it,” he says.

“We also really just want to throw one hell of a party at the end of the parade at Yonge and Dundas.”

If the new route is successful, Hillier says, this will likely be the plan for next year when Toronto hosts WorldPride. Organizers are expecting the parade to grow considerably in 2014, both in participants and spectators.

“We need to expand our footprint for WorldPride, so this is one example of how we will do that,” he says.

The lineup of performers for the new Yonge and Dundas stage will be announced in the next few days, he says.

PT has also announced some of the headlining performers on other stages. On the main TD-Wellesley Stage will be Mia Martina, Anjulie, My Name Is Kay, Reverse and the House of Xtravaganza. “We still have many artists to announce,” Hillier notes.

Leading the July 1 parade will be Marcela Romera, the 2013 international grand marshal. Romera, a trans activist from Argentina, is director of Argentina’s Association of Transvestites, Transsexuals and Transgender Persons. She hails from Buenos Aires, where she has worked with human rights activists in Latin America and the Caribbean, developing strategies to tackle stigma, hate crimes, discrimination and human rights abuses against trans people.

She has been recognized for her work in advocating for the gender identity law that was passed in Argentina in May 2012, allowing trans people to change the sex on their identity cards to reflect their gender identity without having to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

Romera was named Argentina’s 2009 Woman of the Year.