Pride Parade to bring rainbows to Montreal’s streets today

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The festivities celebrating Montreal’s sexual diversity and plurality are nearly over, but not before the colourful and large-scale Pride Parade takes over downtown streets today.

The parade will start at noon at the corner of Drummond Street and make its way east along René-Lévesque Boulevard. The event will wrap up at Alexandre-DeSève Street in the city’s Gay Village.

While the annual parade usually draws huge crowds, this year will be a number of high-profile guests and politicians marching in honour of the LGBT community.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will march in the Pride Parade with Ireland’s openly-gay Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre will join them.

Gay rights activist Stuart Milk, the nephew of legendary LGBT activist Harvey Milk, will be a parade grand marshal.

Mtl Pride Parade 20160814

Participants wave rainbow flags during the annual Pride Parade in 2016. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The Quebec division of the Canadian Armed Forces will also be an official participant in the parade. While members of the CAF have been allowed to march in LGBT parades in uniform by request in past years, this is the first time members are being widely encouraged to do so as a group.

With Pride festivities in full swing, the City of Montreal and its police force also issued a public apology earlier this week to the LGBT community for past institutional discrimination and crackdowns on gay bars and clubs from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Heightened security

Montreal Pride organizers announced earlier this week that they tripled their security budget this year for the festivities, including the parade, to quell fears following high-profile vehicle attacks in public areas.

As part of the measures, there will be be more security guards in uniform and plainclothes officers on site to ensure that the event goes off without a hitch.

There will also be concrete barriers at intersections and heavy trucks will be parked during the parade to block entrances to prevent vehicle attacks.

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Pride Parade to bring rainbows to Montreal’s streets today

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