1st winter Pride march takes centre stage at Winterlude

Despite the powerful winds and blistering cold, Ottawa residents layered on their warm clothes to take part in some of the winter events happening in the city.

A boat race on ice, Pride festivities were all on the menu

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Ottawa on Feb. 10, 2019, during the city's first Pride march held in the winter. (Leah Hansen/CBC)

Despite the powerful winds and blistering cold, people layered on their warm clothes to take part in the second weekend of Winterlude — which included Ottawa's first ever winter Pride march.

Sunday's march commemorated 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality, while also recognizing that work still needs to be done to advance LGBTQ rights. 

Armonia, who did not want her last name used, said the march was a way to raise awareness about the experiences of people in the community. 

"I'm a trans woman, and a lot of people don't really understand what we go through and what we ask when it comes to how we want to be treated," she said. 

The march wound from Parliament Hill, down Elgin Street and then along Sparks Street. Marchers encountered a small group of around eight counter-protesters at Elgin and Sparks streets — but their bullhorn was quickly drowned out by the hundreds of Pride marchers chanting "love is love."

Kirsten Hotchkiss said they attended the march to fight for acceptance and the rights of the next generation of LGBTQ kids. 

"We still have such a long way [to go]," they said. "We still need to fight for those people and fight for the young kids who may have parents that won't accept them." 

The winter Pride finale takes place this afternoon at Bank and Sparks streets, with drag and burlesque performances. 

Winterlude around town

The weekend also featured featured ice carving competitions and dragon boat racing on the ice at Dow's Lake. 

All 7.8 kilometres of the Rideau Canal Skateway also opened on Saturday morning. 

Here are some photos and tweets from the weekend. 

A carved dragon head on the front of a parked dragon boat is seen as competitors race at the Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival during the Winterlude Festival. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press )
Ottawa resident Michael Jordan took this photo while taking a spin on the Rideau Canal Skateway Saturday. (Michael Jordan/Twiiter ‏ )
Competitors are seen from under a gate as they make their way down the course at the Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival on the Rideau Canal Skateway during the Winterlude Festival. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press )
People skate on the Rideau Canal Skateway during the second weekend of the Winterlude Festival in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
Hundreds of Ottawa residents took part in Winterlude's Pride march through Bank Street Sunday. (Leah Hansen/CBC)
The first winter Pride march took place in Ottawa Sunday as part this year's Winterlude lineup. (Leah Hansen/CBC)
Changing the Criminal Code to enact a national ban on the controversial practise of conversion therapy could face some constitutional hurdles, legal experts say. (CBC)
Winter Pride events carried on late into the night Saturday with performances on their winter stage. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

With files from Leah Hansen