Toronto
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It takes a village to raise a Pride

Southern Ontario communities put out more flags

PICNICS, DANCES & PARADES. Pride York Region co-chairs Ian A McCallum and Cheryl Cooke Harrington are ready to celebrate. Credit: rtesy York Region Newspaper Group

Pride Toronto might be the holy grail of Canadian homo celebrations, but that doesn’t mean Hogtown holds the only Pride queer enough to piss off Elsie Wayne.



Here’s a roundup of Ontario Pride fests coming up this summer. You’ll note that there are a couple of missing communities this time around. Sarnia and Port Huron Pride is not happening this year, and there’s nothing planned yet for Niagara and North Bay.



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The theme for this year’s Kingston Pride, which takes place throughout the whole month of June, is “Honouring The Past.”



Pride co-chair John MacTavish says the celebration has been growing in the last couple of years “and I hope that this year will be even bigger.”



A queer art show at the Springer Lounge, opening Mon, Jun 2 is the first of 18 events. And for the first time in Kingston’s history, the Pride Parade will have floats. The parade begins at McBurney Park on Sat, Jun 14 at 12:30pm.



For more information call (613) 545-3698.



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The Halton Pride Picnic takes place at Bronte Creek Provincial Park from 12pm to 5pm on Sat, Jun 7. Marcus Logan, who has been the Pride committee chair since the first picnic four years ago, wants to top last year’s attendance record of 400.



“I want to see people of all different backgrounds and sexual orientations meeting their neighbours,” says Logan.



For more information, visit www.haltonpride.org, call Logan at (905) 690-4986 or e-mail info@haltonpride.org.



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This year’s Hamilton Pride Festival lasts a whole week, from Sun, Jun 8 to 15, the longest and largest festival in Hamilton Pride history. And the Sat, Jun 14 parade will be the city’s first sanctioned one – they’ve all been marches up until now.



“There was a time when the city wouldn’t even declare Pride Day, and now they’re not only on our side, but helping to fund it, too,” says Hamilton Pride vice-chair John Kenyon.



The parade starts at noon at Commonwealth Square (across from city hall), ending with a party at Dundurn Park Pavilion around 1:30pm.



For more information, visit www.hamiltonpride.com or e-mail info@hamiltonpride.com.



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Pride in the Cambridge, Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo region is better known as Tri-Pride, running this year from Mon, Jun 9 to 15 – the first time organizers have put on a whole week of events.



Richard Sickinger, the events director of Tri-Pride, expects about 3,000 people, making it one of southern Ontario’s largest (not counting Toronto, which attracts 800,000).



“But it’s still small enough to have that small-town community feel to it that you can be proud of,” says Sickinger.



The Pride Day party is on Sun, June 15, on Roos Island in Victoria Park in downtown Kitchener. Carole Pope headlines.



For more information and for a listing of all the events, visit www.rainbow.on.ca or call (519) 584-2415.



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It’s an annual challenge for York Region Pride organizers to get local municipalities to proclaim Pride, which this year runs from Sun, Jun 15 to 21. It’s the third year York Regional Council has acknowledged them. So far, Georgina, East Gwillimbury, Markham, Whitchurch-Stouffville, King Township, Newmarket, Richmond Hall and Aurora have all offered proclamations; Vaughan is the only hold-out, claiming a policy that prohibits proclamations for all but “municipal purposes.”



With a theme of “Equality Through Visibility” York’s Pride kicks off with a multi-faith church service at St Matthew’s United Church in Richmond Hill on Sun, Jun 15 at 7pm.



York’s celebrations wrap up on Sat, Jun 21 with a baseball tournament and a dance, both hosted by the Gay And Lesbian Association Of York Region. The tournament takes place at the Queens-ville Community Centre Diamond starting at 2pm, and the dance will be at the East Gwillimbury Community Centre at 8pm.



For more information on York Region Pride, call 1-888-4-GAY-YORK, visit www.gaycanada.com/-prideyorkregion/pride2003.html or e-mail yorkpride@yahoo.ca.



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Ben Benedict, a member of the marketing subcommittee for London Pride, says this year’s theme of “It’s Great When You Participate” is raising the bar and expectations.



“Pride isn’t just about throwing a big party and celebration, it’s about organizing an event that’s going to serve the basic needs of our community. We want to provide information that’s going to be helpful and move our community forward,” says Benedict. “Our community has a lot of healing to do and Pride will hopefully bring up important issues in front of the community.”



London’s 12th annual Pride runs from Fri, Jul 4 to 13, starting with the 8pm opening of an art exhibit on the second floor of the Galleria Mall. The Pride Festival runs at The Western Fair Grounds from Fri, Jul 11 to 13, until 2am. The parade is Sun, Jul 13.



“Even though London is a conservative city, being proud to be gay for one day shouldn’t cost you your job or your social status,” said Benedict.



For more information, visit www.pridelondon.ca or e-mail pridelondonont@yahoo.com.



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The 11th annual Windsor Pride starts Sun, Jul 20, with a picnic at Micmac Park. The theme is, “Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are.” There will be other events throughout the week put on by the AIDS Committee Of Windsor, the youth group, Windsor Feminist Theatre and Planned Parenthood Of Windsor And Essex County.



Although Windsor Pride has been growing, Windsor Pride co-chair Chris Cecile expects this year to be low key.



“Once in a while, you need to take a breather for various reasons,” says Cecile. “But that’s not going to stop us from throwing the best damn Pride we can throw.”



For more information, visit www.windsorpride.com or www.gaywindsor.com send an e-mail to pride@gaywindsor.com.