Halifax Pride parade to hit the streets in July after 2-year hiatus
'It's really been challenging not having a festival that has included that moment,' says Adam Reid
Members of the LGBTQ community will take to the streets this summer to celebrate and reflect after two years of hosting small-scale or virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Halifax Pride plans to launch a full-scale festival from July 14-24, which will see the return of the parade — one of its largest and most anticipated events.
"We know that the parade is a really significant moment for our community to celebrate this time of year, but also to recognize the work that is taking place, to recognize the shared history we have, and the struggles we've overcome together," said Adam Reid, executive director for Halifax Pride.
"It's really been challenging not having a festival that has included that moment."
While the parade will follow public health guidelines, Reid said Halifax Pride hopes the event and turnout resemble those prior to COVID-19, with floats, costumes, marchers, and "all kinds of spectacles and music."
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"We're really hoping for a return to sort of pre-pandemic scale and style, sets of activities, but of course with improvements," said Reid. "We've really taken these past few years to be really reflective and think about what we do as an organization, as a team, as a society."
Reid said the event and route are still being planned, but several community organizations have already begun preparations.
John R. Sylliboy, executive director of the Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance, said he wants Indigenous two-spirit and LGBTQ people to feel safe and see themselves reflected at this year's Pride event.
The group's float, said Sylliboy, "will be a celebration of our culture and identity to two-spirit folks."
Courtney Connor, the development officer for the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, said the centre's Gender & Sexuality Alliance — a group centred on LGBTQ youth — plans to work with Halifax Pride to put on various events.
"I suspect you'll see our annual Pride picnic in the park again this year for youth and families to attend, and we'll definitely be providing platforms and opportunities to get youth out to some of the more educational and remembrance-based events," said Connor.
Members of the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ-centred organizations will be entitled to free entry to Pride events.
Reid said throughout the pandemic, LGBTQ people have been disproportionately affected by things such as employment and housing insecurity, and this year's Pride will be a chance to finally come together and be their authentic selves.
"Coming back fully this year, we know is going to be a real benefit to the mental and social health of Haligonians and the queer community," said Reid.