2 min

Small towns, big hearts

Everyone is gearing up for Pride

Pride celebrations in Niagara, Waterloo-Wellington region and Halton region are all coming up soon.

• Niagara Pride has lots to celebrate: It was recently awarded a second year of funding from the Ministry Of Justice for a second year of Its educational outreach program.

Sun, Jun 1 is Niagara Pride’s first celebrity auction and cabaret. Maggie Cassella will host the event, with performers Forté and Sister Lune. Auction items include a poster signed by the cast of Queer As Folk, a complete Melissa Etheridge CD set and a tennis racquet cover signed by Martina Navratilova. The auction items will be on display at 7pm, and the auction and cabaret begins an hour later. Between 160 and 200 people are expected.

The next day is the fourth annual Pride picnic, organized by Niagara Pride and Parents, Family And Friends Of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG). The picnic will be held at Burgoyne Woods, in St Catharine’s, between noon and 4pm. About 80 people are expected to attend. Openness about homo issues seems to be growing in St Catherine’s, with impassioned letters to the editor in the local paper over the Marc Hall case.

“The letters are more positive than negative: it’s very encouraging,” Pride organizer JoAnne Theobald says.

Theobald herself came out 10 years ago. She was instrumental in starting the youth group the Rainbow Squad. She says that the members, high school students, “have been remarkable in not wanting to put up with stuff they shouldn’t have to put up with, and in demanding equality. The kids are the pioneers, the brave ones. It’s really encouraging: Things are changing slowly but surely.”

For more information, call Theobald at (905) 685-8178.

• Pride festivities for the Waterloo-Wellington region run from Thu, Jun 6 to Jun 9, with the theme, “There’s No Place Like Home.”

“The whole idea was Pride in your backyard – celebrating Pride in your own hometown as well as everywhere you go,” says Craig Hunter, president of the Waterloo-Wellington Regional Pride Steering Committee.

There’s an art show and a film festival (Fri, Jun 7 to Jun 9, at the Princess Cinema in Waterloo). There will be a bonfire and drumming circle at the University Of Waterloo on Columbia Lake Fri, Jun 7. On Sat, Jun 8, the first independently-run community dance will be held in the Bridgeport Community Centre in Kitchener.

Kitchener’s outdoor Pride festival takes place Sun, Jun 9 on Roos Island in Victoria Park.

The Kitchener Pride celebrations have grown since the first one seven years ago, which 86 people attended. This year between 750 and 1,000 are expected.

For more information call (519) 584-2415, or visit

• Halton’s third annual Pride picnic takes place Sun, Jun 8 at 1430 Trafalgar Rd at Sheridan College. It runs from 12pm to 6pm.

“The Halton community is so large, and the gay and lesbian community so dispersed, that we try to pull them together on this day,” says Marcus Logan, this year’s Pride committee chair.

The Halton Anti-Homophobia Committee, the only gay and lesbian service in the Halton Region, is organizing the day. In the past, turnout has been between 300 and 500 people.

Logan says that despite the fact that Halton is “a conservative region, support has been amazing.”

The picnic will include children’s activities, a barbecue, entertainers, as well as such bands as The Strap-Ons and The Blues Band.

After the picnic, a post-Pride dance will be held at Sheridan College’s The Cage bar, from 8pm to 1am. It will cost $10 for adults, $5 for students.

For more information about the Halton region celebration, call (905) 690-4986, or visit