Calgary won't have a Pride parade in September 2020 as festival moves online

Calgary won't see a Pride Parade like it's used to in 2020 and the festival will move online.

Pride is about resiliency and love and this year won't change that, organizers say

Tens-of-thousands lined Sixth Avenue in downtown Calgary for the 2019 Calgary Pride Parade. This year's festival will be moving online due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Calgary won't see a Pride Parade like it's used to in 2020 and the festival will move online.

But the coronavirus pandemic won't stop the organization from sharing the love for its 30th anniversary, the organization says.

"Pride is at its essence a celebration of resiliency, community and love. This year will be no different," reads a message posted to the Calgary Pride website.

Calgary Pride president Shone Thistle said there's a chance the parade could go ahead in a different way, with the guidance of health officials, like small parades within communities.

"The community is entirely used to rising up under challenging circumstances," she said. 

"If you go back to the beginning of Pride ... if you consider the roots of the organization and the roots of the movement, it happened in tiny pockets.

"So this is an opportunity for us to create those mini doses of Pride in different parts of the community."

Calgary Pride said in a release Tuesday that the festival will go forward virtually, with free online content including performances from LGBTQ2S+ artists, workshops, interviews, and community newscasts.

And, it will partner with local businesses who wish to set up initiatives or events for Pride by providing free online diversity training and financial support.

Those partnerships could look like Pride video content livestreamed at a local pub or sponsored products, Thistle said.

A report earlier this month from Egale Canada, a national LGBTQ human rights organization, found that a greater percentage of LGBTQ households in Canada are facing financial, physical and mental health impacts from COVID-19 than non-LGBTQ households.

"We know that the gender and sexually diverse community are disproportionately affected by economic downturns. So we also know that this is our opportunity to step up and create opportunity for all Calgarians," she said.

The festival's marketplace will also move online, to give the community a chance to support LGBTQ-owned businesses and artists.

"In our homes, and in our communities, Pride is created through acts of allyship, love and connection. This movement does not diminish, nor does it rest; it is continuously reinforced by your strength," the release said.

Pride's online festival will run Aug. 28 to Sept. 6.

Alberta currently has a ban on gatherings of 15 or more people that is set to be reassessed in the fall but the province has yet to confirm a date as to when that restriction will be lifted.


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