Sunday, June 28, 2015

Walking Proud

By Sara Faruqi, Toronto Police Service
Published: 6:37 p.m. June 28, 2015
Updated: 8:10 p.m. June 28, 2015

Over 8,000 people marched in this year’s parade, amongst them, proudly representing the Toronto Police Service were Constable Christopher Atwood and his partner Joseph Barrett.
Constable Christopher Atwood and his partner Joseph Barrett walk together in the Pride Parade
“It’s a proud moment to be able to be in uniform and be able to walk with my partner down the street and in the parade,” said Atwood, with a smile.
Barrett said walking with Atwood in his uniform was an especially proud moment when a woman came up to them and said how happy she was to see an officer walk on the street in public with his boyfriend.
"I had a tear in my eye when she said that,” said Barrett, laughing. "She said that people in the community can hold their partners hands but it’s harder for officers.
“Even when I came out it wasn’t acceptable to walk with your partner in the Pride Parade so this is huge,” said Barrett.
For Atwood, it was great to see people from all walks of life come together to celebrate.
“It’s amazing to walk through the parade and see people from every culture walk together and cheer together and celebrate life together.”

Chief Mark Saunders walks in the Pride Parade
And while it was a raining, the weather didn’t stop Torontonians from attending. For Chief Mark Saunders, who was marching for the first time as Toronto's top cop, a little rain couldn’t dampen the mood.
"A bit of rain isn’t going to get anyone down, there are hundreds of thousands of people here and it is going to be a great parade,” said the Chief, as he joined his wife, fellow officers and civilians in the parade.
“This reminds me of why Toronto is such a great city, the fact that we have events like this and have so much fun and that we can all understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and how we all get along together so fantastically,” said the Chief.
Constable Danielle Bottineau was also marching in the parade with her partner.
She said this year around they got a lot of requests to kiss.
“We had three or four requests and it was really cute,” said Bottineau, with a laugh, adding that they did oblige.

“It always amazes me the response we get from the community, they open up and really cheer us along,” said Bottineau. “Having the Chief there and on board is great and he is one of our biggest allies, which was obvious today.”

An officer shows his support by wearing the rainbow flag in his forge cap.

Chief Saunders high fives a Parade onlooker

Constable Danielle Bottineau with her wife Karen DaFonte

Court Officer Mary Christian laughs as she looks at people standing on roofs to watch the Pride Parade

Onlookers with their pride gear on watch as police officers walk by

Sergeant Henry Dyck walks in the Pride Parade

Toronto Police officers spray the crowd with water as they pass by on the official float.

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