Pride parades always include rainbow colours in their celebrations but Pride Toronto’s parade next month will close with a sea of black.
The tribute is to honour the alleged victims of Toronto man Bruce McArthur, who has been charged with the murders of eight local men police allege he targeted through gay dating apps.
Olivia Nuamah, the executive director of Pride Toronto, said the barriers will open at the end of the parade and the audience will be invited to march in silence wearing black.
“It’s one of the ways we want to commemorate the death of eight men in our community,” she told CBC.
“Even though we understand that we’re celebrating, we also need to deal with some hard truths about the LGBTQ community and the issues of safety that we still suffer.
“We want to show that we support the whole of the city and we stand against anyone who limits our ability to live our life as freely and as safely as we want.”
Toronto Pride volunteers will wear black and hold a minute of silence before the parade on June 24 to pay tribute to the eight men.
McArthur, who worked as a landscaper, has been charged with the murders of eight men whose remains were found on a number of properties he worked on across Toronto.
The man was arrested and charged with the murders of two men in January, and since then has been accused of four more murders he allegedly committed between 2010 and 2017.
The eight men Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Abdulbasir Faizi, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, and Majeed Kayhan.
Police allege McArthur targeted men through gay dating apps, often meeting them in the Gay Village neighbourhood.
Local LGBTIQ advocates voiced concerns about police initially dismissing fears that the village’s gay population was being targeted.
Police have said their investigation is now “unprecedented” in scope, with investigators searching numerous properties McArthur worked on and examining missing persons cases dating back to 1975, when McArthur would have been in his twenties.