Toronto
3 min

Spray me with a watergun!

Ontario Prides promise fun, not crowds

NO FLAGGING SPIRITS. Pride York Region co-chairs Ian A McCallum and Cheryl Cooke Harrington. Credit: RTESY YORK REGION NEWSPAPER GROUP

Toronto’s not the only Pride show in town this month.



“Small town Prides are very different and very fun, with a community feel, a family feel,” says Kingston Pride organizer Allison Cope.



Kingston’s pride celebration lasts for the month of June. There are not as many events as usual this year, says Cope, because there have not been enough volunteers or suggestions. The Pride parade is still taking place Sat, Jun 15 from 12:30pm to 4pm in McBurney Park. Ten years ago there was gawking and name-calling during the parade, but Cope says last year people “started to come out and watch.” There’s a family beach day at Grass Creek Park from noon to 5pm on Sun, Jun 16. For more information call (613) 545-3698 or visit www.rainbowkingston.com/events.htm.



North Bay’s Northern Rainbow Pride organization celebrates its second Pride week until Sat, Jun 15. Organizer Mario Domingue says NRP only started last year but community reaction has been positive.



The Pride dance is Sat, Jun 15, with 150 people expected to attend. As well, the mayor is proclaiming Pride Week. For more information, call (705) 472-0990 or visit nrpride.tripod.ca/index.html.



Hamilton’s theme for their sixth annual Pride celebration, running from Thu, Jun 13 to 16, is “New City! New Pride!” Chair Lyla Miklos expects 3,000 people.



“The only problem is getting enough volunteers, but somehow in the end we get enough.” The annual rally and march is Sat, Jul 15 at noon, starting at the steps of Hamilton’s city hall and finishing at Dundurn Park. For more information contact Miklos at 1-888-338-8278 or (905) 526-1074 or visit gayhamilton.com/pride.



York Region’s second annual Pride week runs Mon, Jun 17 to 23. The theme is “Equality Through Visibility.” Co-chair Ian McCallum says the queer population “is very invisible in this region. There are no gay bars or stores, so people go down into the city [Toronto], or up to Barrie. We are trying to create something within York Region.”



Wed, Jun 19 marks the opening of the Pride York Region McBean GLBTQ Literature And Reference Collection at the Krasman Centre in Richmond Hill. The collection is the first of its kind in York Region with more than 100 books already donated. A Sunday evening non-denominational church service will be held on Sun, Jun 23 at St Matthew’s United Church in Richmond Hill. Cooke Harrington calls the service “visibility in a non-threatening way.”



For the second year, the York Regional council has officially recognized Pride Week. Pride York Region has also requested Pride Week proclamations from each of York Region’s nine municipalities. At press time, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, Newmarket, Aurora and Richmond Hill have agreed to issue proclamations. For more information call 1-800-4-GAY-YORK or visit www.gaycanada.com/prideyorkregion.



The Homophile Association Of London’s Pride celebration is on Thu, Jul 13. Their focus is on accessibility, and is reflected in the theme, “Back To Our Roots.” The celebration runs from 11am to 2am at the London Centennial Hall.



“Last year Pride wasn’t done for London, it was done for the glorification of the organizers,” says Kytt Viau, who joined as an organizer this year. For more information visit www.proudlife.com.



Windsor Pride’s tenth celebration runs from Sun, Jul 21 to 28 with the theme, “Building On A Decade Of Pride.” Co-chair Chris Cecile says the group is unique because the committee is composed of members of all the different queer groups in the area. The more involvement the better because, as he explains, “we’re on a very limited budget.”



The Pride flag goes up at Windsor city hall on Fri, Jul 19 at 10am. On Sun, Jul 21 at 11am, there will be a Pride picnic and opening ceremonies at Memorial Park. Sun, Jul 28 is Pride Day, which includes a parade starting at 1:30pm.



“Although the greater community doesn’t have a problem with it, there have been no spectators,” says Cecile. “I want spectators! I want someone to watch me spray my watergun!” For more information call (519) 562-1380 or visit www.windsorpride.com.



Sarnia and its US neighbour, Port Huron, celebrates their fourth year of Pride with the theme, “Pride Without Borders.” Canadian chair Judith Evers says community reactions have become much more positive over the years. Evers attended the first Pride parade in Sarnia with a sign that said, “Straight by design, not by choice.” She had no connections to the community, but wanted to show her support.



The festivities run from Sat, Aug 10 to 12, beginning with the opening ceremonies at Port Huron Municipal Complex at 6pm on Sat Aug 10, followed by the Port Huron Pride And Unity March through the downtown at 6:30pm. Only recently, says Evers, did the city allow the march to be in the streets, not on the sidewalks. Sun, Aug 11 is the Sarnia-Port Huron International Pride Parade, starting in Veterans Park at 1pm and going through downtown Sarnia. For more information visit www.gaybluewater.com.



Ottawa’s Pride celebration takes place from Mon, Jul 8 to 14, beginning with a flag-raising ceremony at Ottawa City Hall. Sun, Jul 14 is the Pride parade from 1:15pm to 3pm. For more information call 613-238-2424 or visit www.gayottawa.com/ottawa-pride.