This year’s Capital Pride parade was a success in many ways — the weather was perfect, the crowds enthusiastic, the marchers flamboyant and the grand marshal, Glenn Crawford, chair of the Village Committee, was a circus master extraordinaire.
Sitting on top of a white VW Bug, Crawford waved to the crowds with a street sign emblazoned with the words “The/Le Village.” Behind him, neighbours swaggered down the road showing off the new signs.
The signs are prototypes — if the design receives widespread support, they will be installed along Bank, between Nepean and James streets, to officially recognize Ottawa’s Village.
“It is just a really amazing acknowledgement from the city. This is history in the making; this is a legacy for the community,” says Crawford. “Boiling it down to simple succinct reasons to why we need this — it is about acceptance, acceptance of our community in our city.”
The initial prototype of the signs was presented to the Village Committee by Diane Holmes, city councillor for Somerset Ward. Crawford then worked on the design, which incorporates a rainbow and the village logo, with the city’s sign shop.
“We knew it would be a great opportunity; it would be the biggest crowd we could get to show what the signs would look like,” says Crawford.
A prototype Village street sign is to be placed on the northwest corner of Bank and Gilmour streets from Sept 16 to 23. The launch date coincides with the Village film screening and will remain up for one week.
The objective is to gather feedback from residents, local businesses and community organizations to determine whether more Village signs should be mounted along Bank.
“I think the understanding is, if we get an overwhelming response of support that that gives Diane a clear enough mandate to move forward,” says Crawford.
With that in mind, the Village Committee has launched an outreach campaign to garner as many votes as possible. A ballot was set up at Pride and on the Village website — to date they have more than 200 ballots online but have yet to tally the number of votes taken at the Pride community fair. Crawford has also sent out emails to community organizations and businesses encouraging people to go to their website and complete the sign survey.
“I cannot stress enough how important I feel it is for the community to come together on this,” says Crawford. “We recognize that we need everyone to work together to make a difference. I hope people will understand that, and that we will work together on this because it’s about what is possible for the future.”
To vote on the signs, go to the Village website, villageottawa.com, and click on the Village sign icon at the top of the page.