On Saturday, June 5, Toronto held its second annual Toronto Veggie Pride Parade (TVPP). Hundreds of animal rights activists waited until the rain and thunderstorm subsided before merrily marching and dancing down Yonge Street at Bloor, west on Queen, and to the Church of the Holy Trinity by the Eaton Centre, where there was a post-parade lunch and other events. When -- at the end of the parade -- lettuce lady, animal mascots, and parade participants danced to "Celebration," Kimberly Carroll, the MC of the 2011 Toronto Veggie Pride Parade exclaimed, "We almost had a rained out parade, but we salvaged it at the last minute. This is a reason to celebrate."
Compared to last year's inaugural parade, this year's event introduced a couple of new directions. Whereas last year's event consisted of only a parade segment, this year's event included a post-parade production and party at the Church of the Holy Trinity, beginning with a vegan lunch. It was followed by two inspirational talks from Nimisha Raja (Toronto Vegetarian Association) and Dr. David Sztybel, as well as performances from the Salsa Dancers, the Sugar Shakers and the vegan punk band, Muriqui, and an art show to help save 'farm' animals by Toronto Pig Save.
Helen Prancic, TVPP's director of marketing said, "After last year's event, we felt that participants would enjoy not only a parade, but an after-party so that they could continue to celebrate with the veg community whether they were vegetarian/vegan or not. The enthusiasm that builds up during the parade not only results in hunger but a joy for meeting new vegetarians and a desire to network and make new friendships."
"Also, new this year," says Cassandra Prince, TVPP's project manager, "we made a point of reaching out to Toronto's diverse communities. We made available on our website the TVPP poster in different languages (Cantonese, Polish, Italian, etc.)." Prince said the TVPP also reached out to non-English language media to promote the parade. "One week before the parade we had two minute segments about the parade delivered in the Hindi language on a local South Asian radio station."
In addition to being inclusive, setting a positive example and showing love for animals, the goals of the Toronto Veggie Pride Parade are to "celebrate our diet, which is healthier, more eco-friendly, apt to feed the poor, and fosters non-violence including between nations" and "to educate about the issues surrounding today's cruel, unsustainable, and exploitative meat-, egg-, and dairy-production systems."
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