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Ottawa Pride parade to celebrate ‘30 Years Together’

Pride festival producer job still unfilled

Tammy Dopson, Michael Connors and Oren Howlett (left to right) at a June 4 Capital Pride press conference. Credit: Adrienne Ascah

There’s no word yet on who will replace Mauricio Olivares as Capital Pride’s festival producer.

At a June 4 press conference at Ottawa City Hall, Tammy Dopson, chair and spokesperson for Capital Pride, gave more details about the upcoming 30th anniversary Pride festival, but says Olivares’ replacement hasn’t yet been named.

“We have been looking at several options,” she says of replacing Olivares, who resigned on May 22 after a month on the job. “In the last two weeks our assistant festival producer, Michael Connors, has stepped up and has been at the helm of our very capable operations team.”

In a June 1 interview with Daily Xtra, Olivares declined to explain why he had resigned, but hinted at acrimony when he said, “I completely disassociate myself with the group, particularly with Tammy Dopson.” At the press conference Dopson reiterated what she told Daily Xtra on June 1, that Olivares’ resignation letter indicated that he was leaving due to health reasons.

Oren Howlett, vice-chair of Pride’s community advisory committee, also spoke at the press conference, announcing that the festival will run from Aug 17 to 23 and the theme will be “30 Years Together.”

“From its very inception, the new Capital Pride organization has sought to reflect the multi-faceted experiences and perspectives which exist in the LGBTTQ community,” Howlett says. “We must acknowledge the rich tapestry that makes up this complex community both in Ottawa and beyond. Separately, each facet of our community is only a single thread. Together, we are a banner worth waving.”

Although the parade route hasn’t been finalized, Dopson says the Village will be featured prominently during the festival.

“Through our partnership with the Bank Street BIA we are excited to be able to bring the Fierté Capitale Pride festival and community fair back to the Village on Bank Street,” she says. “We are currently in discussions with the City of Ottawa regarding a proposed parade route which would allow us to keep this year’s festival close to the heart of the Village.”

Event dates and details — including which events will have admission fees — aren’t yet available, but Dopson did talk about which events will be part of the festival celebrations.

“Members of the community can expect the return of its most popular and cherished traditions throughout the official Pride week including the City of Ottawa’s flag-raising tour, the human rights vigil, the family picnic, the health and fitness day, the Mr and Mrs Capital Pride pageant, the rainbow party and of course the parade and community fair,” she says. “We will also be including new special events, such as the 30th anniversary commemoration ball and the Fresh party.”

By mid-June, Capital Pride will launch its new website, which will provide event details and registration information for the parade and community fair, Dopson says.

The festival will also include a showcase of stored archival material collected from Pride celebrations over the years, she says.

“Two local curators from the LGBTTQ community have agreed to go through the materials and select items in preparation for a retrospective of the last 30 years of the Ottawa Pride festival,” Dopson says.

Michael Connors, Capital Pride’s assistant festival producer, spoke to Daily Xtra briefly after the press conference.

“Everything with the festival is running smoothly and under control and I’m very happy to be filling the position at this time,” he says.