Toronto Mayor John Tory took pains to differentiate himself from his predecessor Monday as he loudly declared his support for the city’s LGBT community at city hall.

“I have been proud to attend many Pride Festival flag-raisings right here over the years and now I have the privilege to be here in 2015 as an enthusiastic, supportive mayor in Toronto,” Tory said. “We stand here today united and eager to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ2 community.”

Tory made the comments at a noon event where the rainbow flag was raised over city hall to mark the start of Pride Week festivities in the city.

Noting that this year marks the 35th edition of Pride celebrations in the city, Tory recalled the city’s infamous 1981 bathhouse raids and said it wasn’t long ago that Pride Toronto started as a protest to fight bias and discrimination against sexual minorities.

He added that there is still more work to do, noting that a higher proportion of LGBT students report bullying in schools and that LGBT youth are disproportionately represented among the city’s homeless street youth.

The flag-raising was also attended by Pride Toronto officials and a group of 19 city councilors, including Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, who Tory praised as “fierce champion” of LGBT rights whom he admires.

Tory’s stance marks a stark departure from that of former mayor Rob Ford, who consistently refused to attend Pride events over his term, saying that it would interrupt a family tradition of going to the cottage.

While Ford did take part in a city hall flag-raising ceremony to open Pride Week last year, he declined to take part in the main parade or other events, despite the huge international spotlight on the city as it hosted WorldPride celebrations.

In February of last year, Ford also angered the city’s LGBT community when he ordered city staff to take down a rainbow flag being flown during the Sochi Olympics to protest Russia’s treatment of LGBT people, saying it didn’t represent everyone.

“I will happily and proudly see you at Pride Events throughout this week,” Tory said Monday. “My entire family will march with happiness and enthusiasm at this year’s pride parade.”

He added “You have a friend in the mayor of Toronto.”

When asked about the current mayor's show of support for Toronto Pride, Coun. Ford and his brother Doug Ford, a former councillor and mayoral candidate, both told CP24 they had "no comment."

Rainbow flag raised at Queen’s Park

An hour before the city hall event, another rainbow flag was raised in the city at Queen’s Park by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“We’re here because we live in such an open society. That open society allows us to be here. It allows me to be here with my partner, Jane,” Wynne said.

Gesturing to a heckler with a megaphone who tried to speak over her, she added: “It also allows voices, like the voices behind us, to say what they want to say. We can’t have one without the other.”

It wasn’t clear exactly what the man was protesting, however Wynne continued her comments despite the heckling.

“There is no angry voice that is going to take away from the fact that I’m a Lesbian and I‘m the premier of Ontario. How great is that?” she said.

Wynne is Canada’s first openly gay premier.

The event was also attended by Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Gila Martow, a Progressive Conservative MPP from Thornhill.

At the city hall event, Tory officially proclaimed June 19 to 28 as Pride Week in the city.

Pride events celebrating the city’s LGBT community got underway Friday. The ceremonial events today officially kick off a week of further festivities and events that will culminate in the annual Pride Parade along Yonge Street on June 28.

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