• #PrideTO

    A collection of photos taken by Kyle Andrew on Sunday July 3rd 2016 at the Pride Parade in Toronto Ontario Canada

A Magical day at PrideTO

this day was about love

I ventured to the Toronto Pride parade for the first time ever hoping to capture something special with my camera. I ended up with so much more. I captured something special for myself, and it is my privilege to be able to share it with you.
My name is Kyle Andrew, and this is the story of my first time at #PrideTO.

I made the decision to venture to Toronto for the pride parade several weeks ago. I felt a strong desire to document the thriving movement towards greater and ultimate acceptance throughout our incredible country, and the planning for the day was rather simple: get in a really good spot to shoot the pageantry, and keep the various batteries charged. Upon arriving downtown, I walked the parade route several times and determined that the best possible place for me to shoot from would be right as they would turn off Yonge St. and head down Dundas, basically at the ‘finish line’. I parked myself there for over an hour before the parade was set to begin, and slowly, the crowd began to crush in around me. I’ve never felt so happy to be a giant, my apologies to the 200 people standing behind me for ruining their view.

The day was not without controversy as the Black Lives Matters group, invited guests of Pride Toronto, held a demonstration with a list of demands, holding up the progress of the parade. Where I was standing, we had no idea that any of this had occurred and just thought it was a delay of one sort or the other. I actually didn’t learn about the protest and subsequent document signing by pride organizers until later that evening. I do not have much of an opinion on the matter, as I was there to document the day as I saw it, not get involved in politics. I will however state the following:

As a white male growing up in Canada, I am no position whatsoever to judge the actions of the Black Lives Matters people and frankly I’m sick and tired of listening to the opinions of people whom grew up with and continue to benefit from similar privilege. Let me be clear, I have never felt a second of true oppression in my entire life. Every day I wake up and everywhere that I go I am automatically accepted. My opinion on this matter does not count for much. However, I was in attendance on this day to let everyone that has ever felt a second of oppression know that I am your ally and that my privilege is not lost on me. I only hope that any small amount of attention I can draw to your fight helps. I don’t care what your orientation or skin colour is, we all deserve to be treated as equals. We are all one. Everyone has the right to love whomever and however they choose, and no person has the right to shit on someone else’s happiness. Shame on you if you feel in any way differently, what gives you the right?

Additionally, please stop offering the opinion that they could have picked a better time, as there simply is no right or wrong time for a demonstration of this nature. Sometimes in order to be heard people have to scream, and the best time to scream is when everybody is looking and listening.

Finally I have to say one thing about the officers involved in the day’s events. As I was walking the parade route and plotting my strategy, I walked by a number of them huddled into groups going over the responsibilities of the day. In all cases, I heard an emphasis placed on having fun and it warmed my heart. I do hope that in the future police services are allowed to have a large presence in this parade. Every single officer involved that I saw, be they working, or a part of the spectacle itself was having the time of their lives. I hope that this bargaining chip is simply a political tool to be heard, and more importantly, I hope it works.

For the duration of the parade, I stood next to a man named Warren from Chicago, he and I sharing a similar love of photography. One thing that stuck out in my mind on the day was how he marvelled at our Prime Minister simply strolling down the street with a minimal security detail and hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. It simply could not happen like that in America. I’m not certain if that is factually correct, but I am enormously proud of our political representation on this day, and was thrilled to be able to capture it. What is more Canadian then our prime minister waving a rainbow flag at a Pride Parade while being escorted down the street by a uniformed officer wearing a turban? Awesome.

I had set out on this journey with the intention of posting as much of the event live or near-to-live to social media as I possibly could. I was updating Instagram and Twitter constantly and even had the opportunity to show some of you parts of the parade live on Facebook while it was happening. I want to state here and now that I am absolutely overwhelmed (as was my poor cell phone’s battery haha) by the tremendous amount of support and encouragement I received on the day. It was technically very difficult to get good edits to you guys while I was actually shooting, as the crowd was very tight, but your support kept me going and I appreciate it immensely.

Follow Kyle on Social Media

Below you will find links to my social media accounts. I would appreciate it if you followed me as I continue to document the events of my life.

Without a doubt, the tragic events that occurred at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando last month cast a shadow over the days main event. But if anything, the LGBQT community is a resilient one, and everywhere you looked respect was being paid to the fallen. Especially touching were the volunteers carrying large signs with the names of all forty-nine victims. We can never forget tragedies like this, and we must choose to learn from them. Most importantly, we can never forget or lose faith in the fact that love will always defeat hate.

I know that many of you come here for photography related information specifically, but I wanted to keep that to a minimum in this post due to the nature and importance of this days event. Quickly, I shot the entire event on the Sony A7R II with a Canon 70-200 2.8L IS II lens through a metabones adapter. I shot mainly in APS-C mode for the extra reach it would allow me with this lens. Many of my other images throughout the day were shot on an iPhone 6 and edited in Adobe Lightroom Mobile. I carried two Kmashi 10000mAH battery packs to charge both my cell phone and my camera batteries to make sure I could continue to cover the event and they worked as predicted: perfectly.

Below, please find the posts I made live while the day was unfolding.

Pride 2016 Live Blog Posts

Today's Highlights

So I am done editing for the night, as I am quite exhausted. I’ll have many more edits tomorrow from […]

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Justin Trudeau and more

What a crazy day so far. Stood in prime location at the end of the parade in the heart of […]

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What a View

I had to share this photo, as I will be standing here for a while waiting to take pictures at […]

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On my way to #PRIDE2016

So this is the first official post on this page. I’m so happy to be spending my day in Toronto […]

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I want to wrap this post by thanking the tremendous number of volunteers who gave their time and energy to this month long event culminating in an incredible parade on Sunday. Without all of your collective efforts, not only would people like myself not be able to share in the joy carried forth by a day like this one, but our world would never see the change it so desperately needs. Over the years your voice has grown louder and I want you to know that we hear you loud and clear, and so so many of us, the majority in fact, stand with you in your ongoing fight for freedom and equality.

We are in this together.

This has been PrideTO