Toronto has definitely presented itself to me, in as many opportunities as possible, as an open, diverse, tolerant place. Yes, it doesn't manage to behave like that 100% of the time, but it certainly ranks incredibly high in consistency and congruence when it comes to tolerance and celebration of diversity. About half of Toronto's population was born OUTSIDE CANADA; about half of Torontonians are what they call "visible minorities" (and, with such numbers, the concept of "visible minority" is about to take a 180 degree turn); dozens of languages are spoken here, dozens of religious beliefs and cuisines share this space. At one of the most popular squares you find advocates of Islam, advocates of Christianity, promoters of knowledge about black history, conspiracy theorists... as well as people who might question them, but always with a very firm air of respect and non-violence. Sexual diversity is also very present, with a gay village, an LGBT film fest, LGBT Pride celebrations that last for a week or so, and night-clubs and parties that cater to open-minded people and where revelers of all sexual orientations/preferences party together. Like I said, this doesn't mean that there aren't unfortunate incidents caused by ignorance and/or intolerance, but those would seem most definitely the exception.
So, how could this city not have a celebration called The Toronto Freedom Festival? On May first, at Queen's Park where, basically, people assert their right to CHOOSE, freely, and various exhibitors with a message to expose are given the opportunity to do so. The festival has taken place 3 years in a row, in a mostly peaceful atmosphere. And for the less politically minded, there's plenty of music and ethnic food.
Of course, if you look at the slideshow below, you might notice the abundance of marihuana symbols. And if you had been there, you would have quite noted the smell of pot all around you (and, after a while, you would have felt increasingly high, even without having smoked, lol). And yes, probably the majority of people there were smoking pot (and all of us were second-hand smokers, for sure). And not only that, those people actually marched for the legalisation of marihuana. And, in keeping with the spirit of the festival, they marched, freely, escorted by police who seemed more worried about keeping demonstrators safe from traffic than about any disturbances the demonstrators could cause (which, in the end, were none).
You may or may not agree that legalising marihuana is a wise choice; you may have your opinion on how legalising it would harm or support organised crime and you may or may not have proof for either; you may have quite strong opinions against (or even in favour) of people who regularly smoke pot; but discussions about any of those issues could easily become very heated and the simple fact that these people can get together and in a completely peaceful way demonstrate against the status quo and that they can do so without suffering violence from others who may disagree with them, is quite remarkable in an of itself. Plus, it's a wonderful opportunity to see all sorts of colourful and creative marihuana pipes.