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Pride on Bank St: is it possible?

Gay business owners say yes

The buzz around Ottawa suggests queers would like to see Pride returned to Bank St.
 
Ottawa’s Pride parade marched down Bank St from 1997 to 2004. In the early 2000s, the parade emptied out onto a big, gay street party on Bank, rather than onto the lawn of city hall, where it finished from 2005 to 2010.
 
Rob Giacobbi, the owner of Wilde’s, met with several businesses on Bank St to discuss the possibility of the city and the Bank Street Business Improvement Area (BIA) working with Pride to open the area to Pride festivities.
 
“I think this is a good opportunity, especially since everyone is working so hard to designate this the gay village. I think it would be phenomenal to have it back,” Giacobbi says.
 
David Rimmer of After Stonewall agrees but is a little cautious over the cost to Capital Pride.
 
“The days of the street parties were the best Prides — there’s just no two ways about it,” he says. “The big assurance has to be that it does not cause the Pride committee to go any further into debt. They’ve worked hard to come out of it the last few years.”
 
Giacobbi is optimistic and feels that any obstacles can be overcome if businesses on the street step up and help, by letting the BIA know they are supportive and by helping to collect money to offset some costs.
 
For instance, by moving to Bank St, the Pride committee would lose cash from the $5 entrance fee at Festival Plaza.
 
And financial strain was the reason that Pride moved away from Bank St to Marion Dewar Plaza in the first place.
 
“The more people that approach the BIA and tell the city to step up and cover some of the costs — this thing could happen,” says Giacobbi.
 
Rimmer has stepped up pressure on Facebook to rally people’s support and has contacted the BIA; he says he thought they were amiable to the suggestion of Pride possibly coming out on Bank.