Thousands pack downtown streets for annual Pride parade

Rainbow flags, colourful outfits and messages of love were on vivid display Sunday afternoon in downtown Ottawa for the annual Capital Pride parade.

Mayor Jim Watson took part in the celebrations this year for the first time as an openly gay man, after revealing his sexual orientation last week in an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen.

"This has a little more meaning for me personally. I'm really excited about it," Watson said Sunday.

"I'm very, very proud to be here today as an openly gay mayor and person." 

Jean-Sébastien Marier/CBC

This Pride festival began on Aug. 18 and ended with Sunday's parade. 

Representatives from 190 groups — including community associations, businesses and political parties — took part in the parade this year.

Organizers said it was largest Pride parade in Ottawa to date, with more than 100,000 people expected to be part of the final weekend's festivities.

Feds announce funding for Capital Pride 

Before the parade got underway, the federal government made a funding announcement at a news conference attended by Watson and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the MP for Ottawa Centre.

They pledged up to $200,000 to Capital Pride, which will be used toward new events and programs to encourage LGBTQ tourism in Ottawa.

Jean-Sébastien Marier/CBC

Davy Sabourin, the chair of Capital Pride, said the money will be a big help.

"It's really going to allow us to grow as a festival, tap into new tourism markets, reach people, you know, outside of Ottawa as well," he said.

Sabourin said some of the money will be used for Ottawa's new Winter Pride festival, which made its debut earlier this year, and to expand the footprint of next year's Pride week.