News
1 min

BUT WILL IT BE AS TASTY?

After years of being honoured for outstanding participation in Toronto’s Pride Parade, Pelau Masqueerade has had its subsidy slashed by 80 percent.

The ornate Caribana-style “mas” band, which was named Outstanding Community Marching Group in 2005, has had its subsidy from Toronto Pride cut to $1,000 from $5,000.

Band leader Jamea Zuberi says the group will still participate, but that the overall look of the contingent won’t live up to previous years.

“Each masqueerader wearing a costume will have to pay $100,” says Zuberi. “People who are coming to jump up with us and celebrate — the burden falls on us. Visually, you’re going to see a difference.”

Zuberi says Pride Toronto’s executive director Fatima Amarshi told her about the cut a few months ago, when the group was already into the process of preparing for Pride.

“Fatima told me, ‘We have a new policy, that every group has to be treated the same.'”

Zuberi — a former Pride board member herself — says she doesn’t understand Pride’s decisions.

“It’s not like the organization is having financial problems. I support the organization and I support the parade. It does not mean I support the direction and philosophy of the new board.”

In a letter sent to Pelau and Pride board members, Amarshi said no group was receiving more than $1,000. “Pelau has already been accorded a parade bursary at the maximum amount of $1,000. I’ve made it clear to Jamea that this is the maximum amount any community organization can receive…. The rest is up to her group to raise.”