Thousands line the streets of Barrie for the annual Pride Parade
Enthusiasm ran high as this year's Barrie Pride Parade crossed the rainbow sidewalk on the city's waterfront Saturday afternoon.
In its sixth year, organizers say the parade empowers people to be themselves and advocates for those who are oppressed and victimized.
"Pride Parades are important because they send a message that the LGBT community is here and is willing that stand up and celebrate," said David Bradbury with Barrie Pride.
Members from Fierte Simcoe Pride was among many who took part in today's event. It's president, Brandon Rheal Amyot, says he wanted a separate Fierte Simcoe Pride parade organized this summer, but the city would only allow one to go forward.
"When the City makes its decision, we knew we needed to be here showing our community that we are going to keep working at the issues that are important to them," said Amyot.
Support could be seen throughout the downtown as hundreds of people from all walks of life lined the streets to take part in Saturday's festivities.
Reverend Dr. Michael Peterson with St. Margaret's Anglican Church was also on hand who said he was proud to be at today's event.
"I see a society that is united to affirm our common humanity," said Peterson, "and turns its back on hatred and bigotry."
For many, the celebration goes far beyond community saying this is a family.
"If you don't have a family that you can be out with then you have a family here," said pride participant Jules Hill.