2015 PRIDE TORONTO PARADE Grand Marshall
(TORONTO, ON, April 28) - Pride Toronto announced today that Toronto Native, producer, and Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) Chairman David Furnish will serve as Grand Marshall of the annual Pride Toronto Parade. Furnish joins previously announced International Grand Marshall, Bollywood star and United Nations Champion Celina Jaitly.
The parade will begin at the corner of Church and Bloor Streets on Sunday June 28, 2PM and continue to Yonge-Dundas Square.
“We are so pleased that David Furnish will lead the Toronto Pride Parade,” said Pride Toronto Executive Director Mathieu Chantelois. “We are all incredibly proud of the accomplishments of this fellow Toronto native son and his extraordinary leadership as Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The Foundation not only awards millions of dollars every year to support innovative HIV programs across the globe, but also David and his husband Elton John are powerful voices speaking out on behalf of all people affected by the AIDS epidemic worldwide and for the dignity, equality, and humanity of LGBTQ people everywhere.”
After an 11-year career in advertising, David Furnish became a filmmaker in 1995, directing the BAFTA nominated documentary Elton John: Tantrums & Tiaras. With backing from the Walt Disney Company, David established the film production company Rocket Pictures, producing the independent films Women Talking Dirty and It's A Boy/Girl Thing. In 2011, Rocket Pictures released the major animated feature film Gnomeo & Juliet. Gnomeo had the largest February animated film box office opening weekend in North American history and was a Number One hit in the UK. Rocket Pictures also produced the critically-acclaimed TV series Spectacle:Elvis Costello with, featuring artists such as Bono, The Edge, and Bruce Springsteen.
David developed the concept of turning the Oscar-nominated film Billy Elliot into a musical. He worked with his husband, Elton John, and the original production team to develop and produce the musical. Billy Elliot won nine Olivier Awards in London and 10 Tony Awards on Broadway. David remains involved as Executive Producer of this multiple award-winning production as it tours the globe. David also served as a producer for the critically acclaimed Broadway drama Next Fall.
“I am humbled by this great honour from Pride Toronto to serve as the 2015 Grand Marshall,” said Furnish. “Toronto has always been home, and I’m proud and grateful for this opportunity to stand up for human rights and equality for all, as well as represent my home city, by serving as the parade leader of one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world.”
Prior to Pride Toronto’s parade, Canadian philanthropist, Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) founding member and past Pride Toronto Grand Marshall Salah Bachir (President of Cineplex Media) will host a private reception at his residence with Furnish as the Guest of Honour to benefit Pride Toronto and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
This intimate, ticketed event will provide a meet-and-greet opportunity with Furnish and highlight the important work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, one of the world’s largest HIV grant-makers. As Chairman, Furnish has played an integral part at every level of EJAF’s programmatic, advocacy, and fund-raising initiatives by taking an active leadership role as a global ambassador, regularly appearing as a public speaker, writing editorials, developing partnerships, and travelling internationally to visit and mentor Foundation grantees.
For more information about the Elton John AIDS Foundation, please visit: http://www.ejaf.org.
Pride Toronto 2015 Parade
David Furnish, Grand Marshal
Sunday, June 28, 2015, 2PM
Corner of Church and Bloor Streets to Yonge-Dundas Square
Fund-raising Reception for Elton John AIDS Foundation
David Furnish, Guest of Honour
Hosted by Salah Bachir
Sunday, June 28, 11AM-1PM
For ticket inquiries, please call Pride Toronto at 416-927-7433
All proceeds support Pride Toronto and the Elton John AIDS Foundation