The 30th anniversary Pride parade will take place in the Village, according to Capital Pride.
“The city’s given the absolute green light,” says Capital Pride chair Tammy Dopson. “The official word was given to us [on July 17, 2015] that the permits will be extended to us next week.”
Bringing the festival back to Bank Street has been a priority for the new Capital Pride, which was formed by Dopson in partnership with the Bank Street Business Improvement Area (BIA) in response to the former Capital Pride’s bankruptcy.
While changing the parade route to highlight the Village was Capital Pride’s goal, it couldn’t happen without the city’s authorization. Dopson told Daily Xtra getting approval to make big changes takes time, but it looks like the wait is over.
“We’re starting at Bank [Street] and Gladstone [Avenue] and we’re going to go west to Kent [Street] and then straight up Kent to Laurier [Avenue], then across Laurier to Bank and then back down to Somerset [Street] where they will disperse,” Dopson says. “The reason we’re dispersing on Somerset of course is because you need a sizable street to be able to do that on. On top of that, we’re trying to minimize interruptions to the east-west-bound traffic, the same as in past years.”
The loading areas, or setup areas where floats and marchers set up, will be similar to last year, but Capital Pride isn’t giving specifics at this time — organizers are still deciding who goes where, she says.
The community fair will take place in the Village on Bank Street, which will benefit LGBT and non-LGBT businesses alike, Dopson says.
“It’s all about taking momentum to the Village,” she says. “If you know Toronto, it’s based on exactly what they did for 30 or more years. Basically they had their parade start on one end of the Village and end at the other end of the Village in order to drive all the traffic to the Village. That’s what we’re going to do instead of taking it away from the Village.”
As for having the Pride parade go past significant landmarks, Dopson says that kind of route wasn’t feasible for this year’s parade.
“It’s really expensive to do that,” she says. “It’s not got any less expensive since security has been amped up on Parliament Hill.”
Dopson doesn’t rule out including Parliament Hill in the future, but for this year, she’s thrilled with the parade route.
“We start at the Village and we end at the Village, which is what we promised,” she says. “A lot of people who live in the area, especially LGBTQ community members who live on Kent Street, and it’s a significant number, are very excited that all they’re going to have to do is walk outside their door and there’s a parade. Everyone’s very excited and I think the businesses are very excited too because it keeps a huge number of people in that area, which we hope will help vitalize the area over the years.”