International Day of Pink in Toronto

Written for the Toronto Observer.


The International Day of Pink is celebrated on the second Wednesday of April every year in Canada.

The celebration originated from two teens from Nova Scotia, David Shepherd and Travis Price, who wanted to support someone they had seen being bullied at their high school.The boys got everyone in their school to support the bullied student by having the rest of the school wear pink shirts.

International Day of Pink has evolved into an initiative to stop bullying, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia.

Several celebrities endorsed International Day of Pink including comedian Rick Mercer, former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs Brian Burke and Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne. Wynne is the first woman premier of Ontario as well as the first openly-gay politician in Canada.

Wynne was in Toronto to celebrate International Day of Pink at Agincourt Collegiate Institute.

“It is part of who I am and it is important for me to be clear that I have a responsibility because of who I am . . . to make our society safer and more inclusive,” Wynne said.


Toronto is home to the world’s largest and longest running LGBTQ theatre, Buddies in Bad Time and was the birth place of the original Pride Week Parade in 1981.

There were many others who celebrated International Day of Pink last week including the Toronto police, Young People’s Theatre, Cinnabon Canada and several schools throughout the city.


CBC conducted a survey on bullying in the LBGTQ community in 2008, and here are some the findings:

  • More than 66 per cent of Canadian high school students who identify themselves as homosexual, bisexual or transgendered said they felt unsafe at school.
  • 25 per cent of LGBTQ respondents reported physical threats because of their sexual orientation, while over 50 per cent said they’d been verbally harassed.
  • 41 per cent of LGBTQ participants reported sexual harassment, compared to 19 per cent of straight students.
  • Almost half of LGBTQ participants reported having had mean rumours spread about them at school.

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