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Toronto ready for WorldPride 2014 festival

WorldPride 2014 officially kicked off in Toronto on Friday, but the city has been busy preparing to welcome revellers for 10 days of “queer celebration.”

Today, it was more about putting the finishing touches in place for a Pride party like no other.

“Pride is going to be everywhere,” Pride Toronto executive director Kevin Beaulieu said. “If you are walking through the city you have probably seen the rainbows out. The city is ready to celebrate.”

Those attending the festival won’t be the only ones that will be happy as local businesses are expecting an economic windfall.

“We know that in the last couple of years we’ve had well over a million people each year come to Pride,” Beaulieu said. “In 2013, the economic spend associated with Pride was $286 million dollars in the local and provincial economy.

“So in addition to it being Toronto at its best, when we gather and we celebrate … it also has an incredibly positive impact on the local and provincial economies.”

Hilton hotels, an official partner of the event, say they are completely booked up for the festivities.

Martin Mazur, general manager of Jack Astor’s at Bay and Bloor streets, said the restaurant has doubled its stock for the coming week.

“It should be a really big week. We are hoping to break some records for that week,” Mazur said. “It should be about an extra 15 to 20 per cent more than what we would normally do.”

The opening ceremony will happen at Nathan Phillips Square at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and organizers are advising those heading down to see the free concert beginning at 7 p.m., featuring Melissa Etheridge and Deborah Cox, to get there early.

Click here for road closures that will be in effect during the event.

Are you attending any events at WorldPride 2014? Let us know in the comments below.