By Damien Wood, Calgary Sun
Kicking off what’s shaping up to the largest Pride parade ever in Calgary is an exciting proposition for Del Shores.
The teller of tales and this year’s grand marshal for the centrepiece of Pride Calgary’s annual celebration says events such as this, in many cities, have meant a lot to him since he came out.
But he said in Calgary especially, “It seems like everybody is really on board and everybody is supportive … and it’s really wonderful.”
“I think (Calgary’s) in a great place right now,” he said.
Sunday, for the first time in Pride Calgary’s history, there will be representatives from every local sports organization and political party marching.
Flames, Stampeders, Roughnecks, Hitmen and women’s hockey Inferno will all be accounted for, according to Pride Calgary spokeswoman Tansy Wong.
As will the PC Party of Alberta, Wildrose, Liberals, NDP and Alberta Party.
Wong said she’s heard PC leadership hopefuls Jim Prentice and Thomas Lukaszuk will be there, as well Wildrose leader Danielle Smith.
Also in the parade are more than 100 entries.
“We’re excited for the fact that it’s growing bigger and bigger,” she said.
With high-profile political names taking part, Shores said that’s something far different than what’s seen at many Pride events Stateside where he’s from.
Regardless of whether they do it because it’s a cause near and dear or they do it to be seen in front of thousands of people, it’s an important statement, both Shores and Wong agree.
“In the States you’ve got the Democrats jumping on the board but the Republicans are not,” Shores said.
“We need to take and support anybody.
“If there’s an agenda, OK … (still) you’re marching on the right side of history.”
Wong noted every political party likely has members who would not be willing to show the same support, so for a leadership figure to so is taking a chance.
“Being part of the parade is a huge statement,” she said.
Bottom line, she said, everyone is welcome at the parade.
It is the spirit of Pride, after all.
Wong said Pride Calgary, “has always tried to be as inclusive as possible,” and “create a safe place, for everybody … it doesn’t matter (who), we’re all included and celebrating our diversity.”
According to Pride Calgary, the parade will start at 12 p.m. from Stephen Avenue and Centre St. and make its way to Shaw Millennium Park.