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Kingston & Ottawa Pride groups to ‘help each other out’

Pair form sister partnership; Kingston Pride kicks off today

Some sisters are doing it for themselves. But not everyone, and nowadays some sisters are banding together to share success stories and expertise.

Last month, Capital Pride and Kingston Pride announced they had formed an informal sister partnership. Kingston is a frequent weekend destination for Ottawa tourists, and travel goes both ways. The two towns are 200 kilometres apart.

“Capital Pride is very enthused and excited to be working with such a wonderful organization like Kingston Pride. The partnership will provide promotional and marketing opportunities and the sharing of resources,” says Capital Pride chair Alan Chaffe.

Chaffe says Capital Pride is helping out this year by:

* distributing Kingston Pride information in Ottawa;
* sharing event marketing and planning expertise; and
* providing extra volunteer staff from Capital Pride.

“In this partnership, we’re going to build on success stories, pool sponsorship resources, create a larger network of resources, and help each other’s festival grow. Pride in Ottawa and Kingston is different than in Toronto or Montreal. We have smaller Pride festivals. The partnership will send a great message that we are all in this movement together,” says Chaffe, adding that the partnership will help grow the voice of the queer communities of Eastern Ontario.
“Ottawa has a larger population and Pride committee. So their expertise in these areas is extensive,” Kingston Pride member and Ottawa-Kingston liaison Andrew Pump, adding he’s moving to Ottawa in August and will continue volunteering with Capital Pride.

The sister partnership “is in test mode this year,” Pump adds, “but it’ll likely turn into a yearly commitment. Pretty much all we will do is help each other out.”
Joanne Law is this year’s Capital Pride Parade’s Grand Marshall. She says she has marched in the Kingston Pride parade before and will march it again this year.

“I think the partnership is awesome. This is the first year as a twin group. This partnership means winning. It’ll bring their ideas and our ideas together. And the result is a better celebration,” says Law.

As well, Capital Pride’s large Pride flag will be proudly carried through the parade by both Kingston and Capital Pride committee members.

“We’re hoping to get more people outside Kingston to know about the pride festival. Our cities are so close together. It makes sense we (Ottawa and Kingston) work together,” says Kingston Pride committee member Sandra Jass.

Last year, the Kingston Pride Parade attracted between 200 and 300 marchers. Jass says she hopes the Ottawa partnership will double attendance.

“The Kingston Pride parade isn’t huge, but we’ve got a lot of spirit. I think this year, we’ll see a bunch of people discovering that Kingston Pride has a bunch of groovy activities,” says Jass.

A feature worth mentioning that Kingston Pride has added to its lineup this year is the Out on the Queen: A Gay-La Cruise! This Pride kick-off boat cruise fundraising event will tour the St Lawrence River Fri. June 5. The boat holds 300 and more than half of its tickets have already been sold.

“It’s the first year for a gay boat cruise. We’re taking a risk on it but it’s got a lot of people coming up,” says Pump.

“In the meantime, we want people from all over, including Ottawa, to come to Kingston Pride. You can eat in Kingston restaurants, stay in our fabulous hotels, and see one of the parades and shows. It’s going to be a great weekend!” says Jass.

The Kingston Pride begins June 3. The parade will celebrate its 20th year June 6.