Ottawa’s mayor Jim Watson took part in his first Capital Pride Parade as an openly gay man.

“I feel a weight off my back,” he says. “For the last 40 years I have been in the closet and now I am out and I feel liberated.”

Watson revealed last week he was gay, a secret he says he kept for decades.

Watson says, “My journey wasn’t particularly courageous or brave because I waited 40 years. I should have done it sooner.  People should feel comfortable to come out. If they don’t- they shouldn’t, but if they do, please do, don’t wait 40 years.”

Watson was among the 100-thousand people taking part in the largest Capital Pride Parade ever.

Packed crowds cheered on nearly 200 floats.

Dillon Black was the Grand Marshal. Black wants to be an example for others who may be struggling. “I always wanted to be the person I needed when I was young. For those young people I just want them to know they have a whole community behind them.”

On Sunday, the federal government announced 200-thousand dollars to go to Capital Pride to promote LGBTQ tourism in Ottawa.

Toby Whitfield says the money will help “introduce year-round programming and have a bigger impact on the community.”