Road To The Olympic Games

Pyeongchang 2018

Canada House also home to Pride House during 2018 Olympics

Canada House at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea will also double as Pride House, an inclusive and safe space for LGBT athletes, fans and allies from all over the world.

'Inclusion is the very foundation of what makes the heart of Team Canada,' says COC head

Canada House at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea will also double as Pride House, an inclusive and safe space for LGBT athletes, fans and allies from all over the world. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

By Devin Heroux, CBC Sports

Canada House — decked out in maple leafs and serving up poutine — is bursting with extra pride at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

In what is a historic first, Canada House is the official host of Pride House throughout the Games. Launched at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Pride House was created to be an inclusive and safe space for LGBT athletes, fans and allies from all over the world.

It's the first time a national Olympic committee has directly affiliated itself with Pride House.

"The COC stands behind its commitment of inclusion and diversity in the global sport landscape," says Chris Overholt, the Canadian Olympic Committee's chief executive officer.

Overholt says they understand and recognize that diversity is Canada's greatest strength. 

"Inclusion is the very foundation of what makes the heart of Team Canada."

Since its conception in 2010, Pride House has been present at many different large-scale international sporting events, including the 2012 Olympics in London and 2016 Olympics in Rio. There was no Pride House in Sochi in 2014.

"It's the first time a Pride House has come to Asia, and it's the first time a national Olympic committee has officially embraced the Pride House concept," says Keph Senett, a PrideHouse International trustee.

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This is your home

When families and fans enter Canada House they are met with by a strong message on the wall in French, Korean and English:

"This is your home no matter who you are or where you are from," it reads.

The message also goes on to say "you are at home, regardless of your sex, sexual orientation, race marital or family status, gender identity or expression, sex characteristics, creed, age, disability, political or religious belief."

The COC has tried to be a leader in the space of inclusion and diversity for years. In 2014 it signed a partnership with You Can Play and Egale, two of North America's most respected anti-homophobia groups.

"We are stronger when we celebrate our differences," Overholt says.

Not only will Pride House provide a safe space for LGBT athletes and fans inside Canada House during the Olympics, it's also working with Korea's only LGBT advocacy group, Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Center. 

It will be providing a venue inside Canada House to welcome members from this group during the Games.

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