Link to Pride Toronto

 

See Report on London Pride

See Report on Sudbury Pride

See Report on Windsor Pride

See Report on Vancouver Pride

 


Donations will be acknowledged on this web site or remain anonymous according to your wishes.

 

 

Kevin Bourassa, Marc Hall, and Joe Varnell (Photo by Carolyn Swadron for equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
Kevin Bourassa, Marc Hall, Joe Varnell: together in solidarity against discrimination and spiritual abuse.

 

Music by James K
(Government, the 11th Hour)

 

Elaine and Anne Vautour (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
Elaine and Anne Vautour (Ontario MCC Toronto marriage case) catching shade before boarding the float at the beginning of the parade. "It was great to be part of the Equal Marriage float with everyone else! Thanks to Joey and Kevin for organizing it, to John and team for putting it together, and to everyone else who participated and supported this event. It was nice to meet our Quebec couple as well as some heterosexual supporters. We had alot of fun!"

 

Link to Bruce E. Walker Law Office

 

Joanna Radbord and Douglas Elliott being interviewed prior to the parade.
The media took an interest in our float. Many of us did interviews. Joanna Radbord and Douglas Elliott (lawyers in the Ontario marriage case) were interviewed prior to the start of the parade. Michael Hendricks and Rene Lebeouf are in the background, right. Click to enlarge

 

Link to Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Local 558

 

His Grace, Greg Lawrence (spouse of Douglas Elliott, right), decides to go "traditional" as he removes his shorts from under his costume in search of relief from the summer heat.  (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
Greg Lawrence portrayed "his Grace", the officiator of the wedding tableau. Here he grins as Douglas Elliott (right) watches Greg "go traditional" and remove his shorts from under his rob, in the hot summer heat.

 

Link to  Elliott & Kim - our heroes fighting for our right to marriage in Ontario

 


Meg Taylor, senior editor, Doubleday, joined the marchers calling for equal marriage.

 

Link to Doubleday Canada web site
Doubleday Canada

 

Bill Wrigley and Carolyn Swadron (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
Supporters Bill Wrigley (left) and Carolyn Swadron marched behind the float carrying equal marriage signs. Click to enlarge

 

Link to learn more about how you can help couples across Canada pay for this important legal struggle.

 

Dancing on the equal marriage float (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
Partial view of Elaine Vautour (left), Marc Hall waiving, Gail Donnelly and Barb McDowall, Joanna Radbord (centre), Douglas Elliott (second from right) and Joe Varnell (right). The float had chairs for guests, but everyone was on their feet, waving, cheering, dancing and celebrating the journey to equality. (Click to enlarge)

 

Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa responding to the crowd on Yonge Street (reproduced with permission  - equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa responding to the crowd on Yonge Street. (Click to enlarge)

 

The view behind the equal marriage float (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2002)
View from the back of the equal marriage group. One of our signs can be seen on the right foreground. Michael and Rene's (left foreground) marriage banner, followed by six people (Laurie Aaron, second from left) with an Egale banner, and a group representing PFLAG. Click to enlarge

 

 

 

Our thanks to our many sponsors (Photo be Swadron/Wrigley, 2002)

 

 

Send this page to a friend!

 
Toronto Pride Parade
"Honourable mention by Judges for Best Community Float"

Click to enlarge  (Photo by John Crisp for equalmarriage.ca, 2002)

Marriage March - June 30th 2002

"Hundreds of thousands will watch the couple recreate their January, 2001 ceremony on an ivy and latice-covered float at Sunday's Gay Pride Parade."
The Toronto Sun, June 26, 2002

We need your help in paying for this event!
Mail a donation or donate online by clicking below:

 Enquiries: Bruce Walker (416) 961-7451
www.bwalkerlaw.com

It began in a discussion between friends. Joe and I noted that the issue of equal marriage had not been represented by an advocacy Please help us pay for our expenses.  Link to Donations page.group at last year's Toronto parade. We suggested that we should march with supporters in this year's parade. Douglas Elliott suggested that we think big - why not enter a float into the parade? John Crisp, with experience from past parades, agreed and volunteered to find a team to make it happen. Bruce Walker, also present in the same conversation, offered to manage a trust account to help pay for the project. Before long a team was assembled

Purpose

We wanted a positive and highly visible (over 750,000 people saw the parade, not including media coverage) entry that shows the diversity of interest and support for an end to marriage discrimination against same-sex couples.

Introduction of Core Team Members

Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell - communications, finances
John Crisp - materials, design and construction
Gail Donnelly & Barb McDowall - consulting, volunteer coord
Douglas Elliott - consulting, finances
John Thompson - materials, design and construction
Bruce Walker - trust account controller

Overall Concept

John Crisp decorates the frame of the float with "greenery" for our outdoor look.   (Photo be equalmarriage.ca, 2002)An outdoor garden wedding with Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell and Anne & Elaine Vautour (representing the married couples) standing at one end of the float with a "vicar"(Greg Lawrence, spouse of Douglas Elliott, in costume). Five guests were with the couples, seated in chairs at first, but soon, they were on their feet dancing to the great mustic

Guests included:

  • Gail Donnelly and Barb McDowall (Ontario civil case)
  • Joyce Barnett and Hannah Ruth (Ontario civil case)
  • Michael Hendricks and Rene Leboeuf (Quebec civil case) marching with a banner and friends behind the float
  • Marc Hall (Durham School Board Prom case)
  • Douglas Elliott (lawyer, Ontario MCC Toronto marriage case and Marc Hall case)
  • Joanna Radbord (lawyer, Ontario civil case)

 

The Float Photo the basic concept of the float, which will sit on a flatbed truck.  Anne, Elaine, Joe and Kevin will stand in the foreground, guests will be seated in chairs in the background.   Everything is bolted down.  (Photo by equalmarriage.ca, 2002)

  • An 18-foot flatbed truck and a driver (also named Kevin - thanks for "going the extra mile"!) were hired, along with a sound system and generator.
  • An 18ft x 8ft six columned white arber canopied in floral patterned fabric, set the float's wedding theme.
  • The floor and the sides of the truck were covered with green astro turf.
  • Enlarged reproductions of news headlines ran along the top of the float (from coverage of the marriages).
  • "Just Married" covered the truck's doors, and "Gay Marriage and the expansion of human rights" was on the sides of the float.
  • The front of the float had an enlarged photographic image (CP) of Kevin, Joe, Rev. Hawkes, Anne and Elaine.
  • A custom music mix was recorded for us with the compliments of DJ James K (Government, the 11th Hour)
  • Six volunteers will dismantle the float: Raymond, George, Loy, Dennis, Edward and John.

Thanks to all our donors, volunteers, participants, supporters and friends involved in this effort! We look forward to returning again next year.

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell
Toronto



The Parade

We had the marvelous opportunity of following the Equal Marriage float at Toronto's Pride all along the parade route on Sunday in Toronto. We were not on the float but about 20 feet after it in the ideal position to observe what happened.

Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell organised this float as a kind of garden marriage scene, peopled by a collection of interesting guests (Anne and Elaine Vautour, Doug Elliott, Gail Donnelly and Barb McDowall, Marc Hall, Joanna Radbord, Joe and Kevin, a priest played by Doug's better half and a scattering of others). To complement the visual scene, they also had a sound track which was a mix of low key dance beat music, overdubbed with TV sound bites and interview snippets about equal marriage.The whole was nice to look at and easy to listen to. (We have never heard an "tailored information" sound track at a Pride before and it was quite effective, as well as original in concept). And, from where we were situated, we could see and hear the crowd's reaction to the float very well.

During the 2 hours and 30 minutes of the parade, the reaction from the gays and lesbians in the audience (an audience10 deep on either side of the parade, all along the route) was pretty consistent. As the float approached, some people got it right away (there was a sign on the front of the truck saying "Just Married") and they started cheering and applauding. As the float rolled slowly in front of them, the response from the audience members grew into a noisy racket of cheers, clapping, yelling, crying out ("bravos" etc.). This noisy endorsement continued after the float had passed until it was out of earshot.

It has often been said that the gay and lesbian community is not all that enthusiastic about the marriage issue (said generally by individuals who are not interested in the question or who think it is not a priority). Frankly, we are now convinced that the Toronto gays and lesbians who attend Pride are, in fact, very interested in winning this battle----the kind of enthusiasm coming out of the crowd was too vibrant to miss. They loved it, they support it, and they want us to win this one. (Every time Kevin and Joe kissed, often in fact, they went wild.) Perhaps even more interesting was the reaction of the heterosexual people in the crowd---frankly, though not quite as demonstrative as the homosexual people, it was very enthusiastic too. We were impressed by the public's reaction and delighted to be there to witness it.

We would like to thank Joe and Kevin publicly for doing this neat bit of showmanship for all of us and for constructing this very interesting "opinion poll" which demonstrated (to us at least) that the community is ready and waiting for us to win. Also, we had a ball at the Parade and enjoyed it enormously. It is always fun to be associated with success and, on Sunday, we were there!

Michael Hendricks and René LeBoeuf
Montreal
July 1, 2002


It was such a pleasure for Gail and I to finally meet the two amazing men from Quebec! And to have you part of the Toronto celebration was to say the least a wonderful bonus! We really feel that amazing sense of solidarity that we have created over this past year around equal marriage. Once again, thanks for being with us and for sharing what you both observed along the parade route. It really gives us a full perspective. We, too, were overwhelmed and overjoyed with the response from the crowd as we went along.

See you next year in Montreal for Pride!

Love and Blessings,
Barbara & Gail
July 2, 2002


It was absolutely amazing to feel such overwhelming support for the cause and to celebrate equality. Thanks so much to Kevin and Joe for organizing such a gorgeous, hip float. You could market the CD equal marriage dance mix - very groovy!

Joanna Radbord (Lawyer in Ontario civil marriage case)
Toronto
July 2, 2002


Thanks for joining us, Michael and Rene. You made it more than just a local issue and you looked smashing in your sparkly vests and hats. I had a blast, even though I thought I would be seated sedately for the parade on the float and ended up dancing most of the time with 17 year old Marc Hall (I am not 17 and my feet know it!). Marc was also warmly received by the crowd. Young people were especially emotional in their response to him. Marc told me that he had a great time at this his first Pride Parade anywhere. It was a thrill to be with you all.

Douglas Elliott
July 2, 2002


Thank you for inviting me to be on your float. It was a real honour being in tha parade with you guyz. When you invited me I was soooo excited, you have no idea. I had a great time and so did Liz and Ray. It was my first Pride and it was soo amazing.

Marc Hall
July 6, 2002
.


Please consider helping us cover our expenses. Many hours of volunteer time has kept our budget low, but we still need your assistance. Join us on our journey for equality.

$2625 Total Donations to Equal Marriage Pride trust account:

  • $500 Bourassa and Varnell
  • $500 Doubleday Canada
  • $25 Hendricks and Leboeuf
  • $500 Ladybug Florist, Toronto
  • $500 McGowan Elliott & Kim
  • $100 Ontario Public Service Employees Union (Local 558)
  • $500 Sack Goldblatt

Thank You!

Total estimated budget:
$7000 (Countless hours of donated labour have been contributed to the design and construction of the float in order to keep within budget)

Donations can be made payable to a trust account:

"Equal Marriage Pride"

In care of:
Bruce E. Walker Law Office
65 Wellesley Street East
Suite 205
Toronto, Ontario
M4Y 1G7

Enquiries: Bruce Walker (416) 961-7451
www.bwalkerlaw.com