Brian Bowman gave a passionate speech about acceptance before marching side-by-side with thousands of people, some of whom said they have never felt that support from the mayor’s office before.
In the past, Bowman’s predecessor, Sam Katz, would raise the rainbow flag at City Hall to kick off Pride Festival, but organizers don’t know why he never participated in the parade.
Jonathan Niemczak, president of Pride Winnipeg, says it's very important that civic leaders show support for the community.
Bowman said he hoped it sent a signal that everyone has a place in Winnipeg.
He called it a small gesture and promised he would be at the parade as often as he can.
"I think it's great. It shows a lot of support from the city for the LGBQT community and it's really acknowledging that there's a place for LGBQT people in Winnipeg,” said Mike Tutthill, executive director of the Rainbow Resource Centre.
Pride Winnipeg said it's happy to have an ally at City Hall as the level of acceptance in the city is improving, but more work needs to be done.
Politicians of every stripe made appearances this year, including St. Boniface MP Shelley Glover, who pointed out she’s participated in the parade since before she entered politics; and Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari, who marched with a group of supporters. Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin was also on hand.