Pride association celebrates 'monumental' moment as Thunder Bay school boards raise rainbow flag
Pride in the Park, now Thunder Pride Block Party and Street Festival, to be held June 15, 16 in northside core
For the first time in the city of Thunder Bay, Ont., a rainbow flag will fly outside the three major school board offices during Pride Week. As well, the organization is hosting a two-day weekend Thunder Pride Block Party and Street Festival, in the Bay and Algoma Streets neighbourhood, on June 15 – 16.
"We are going to have street vendors and food and two days of entertainment on the main stage, a kids area and bouncy castles," Thunder Pride Association Chair Jason Veltri told CBC News, "so what you would come to expect from [the former] Pride in the Park but just on a bigger and better scale.
He said the event will take place on Saturday June 15 and Sunday June 16, with the parade also moving to a new route on Sunday.
"It will continue to start at Waverley Park, but we're going to follow along Algoma to Bay Street to the festival area," he said, "so its just a larger parade route for a larger festival."
For the past nine years, Veltri said the Pride association has been gaining more popularity with more partnerships and sponsorships from other businesses and organizations in the community as well.
A 'monumental' event
During Pride Week, from June 5 – June 16, the three major school boards in the city — the Lakehead Public Board, the Thunder Bay District Catholic Board and the CSDC des Aurores boreales — will raise the rainbow flag outside their offices to foster an "inclusive and positive space for all students, staff and family."
"This means the world to me, " Veltri added. "I went to St. Ignatius High School and I went through the Catholic system and I know how hard it was to feel accepted and the bullying and the discrimination that went on in our schools. So this is a monumental step forward for us to showcase that our school boards are in this with us."
He said the representation of the rainbow flag outside the school board offices shows that our schools are an "inclusive and diverse space for anybody, any skin colour, gender, background or sexual orientation."
More information on the Thunder Pride weekend festival can be found on the Thunder Pride Facebook.