Ottawa’s 2014 Day of Pink Gala was a super-sized affair, with organizer Jer’s Vision recognizing 45 individuals for their work fighting bullying and discrimination, one for each year since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
The event was held April 9 at the former Ottawa Technical High School building, also the new home of Jer’s Vision, an Ottawa-based, youth-driven organization that offers anti-bullying and anti-discrimination programming in both Canada and the United States.
Two honorees were centre stage: Carol Todd, who devoted herself to the anti-bullying cause following the suicide of her bullied 15-year-old daughter, Amanda, in 2012; and former This Hour Has 22 Minutes star Gavin Crawford.
Todd paid emotional tribute to her daughter, who she nicknamed “Princess Snowflake,” while Crawford shared his experiences as a gay youth, from being tormented for wearing a rat tail (or “fag tail,” as some of his peers called it) to his first kiss at age 21.
“It’s important we create environments where difference is embraced,” he said, “not just tolerated.”
Other honorees included Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May and Vancouver area MPs Hedy Fry and Libby Davies. Ottawa-area recipients included Mayor Jim Watson, who was recognized alongside city councillors Diane Holmes, Mathieu Fleury and Katherine Hobbs.