In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided The Stonewall Inn, a bar located in New York City’s Greenwich Village that served as a gathering point and safe haven to the city’s Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community.
This wasn’t the first time a raid had happened — at that time homosexual acts (including such innocuous activities as dancing with the same sex) were still illegal in New York state and other jurisdictions in North America.
But the Stonewall raid was different: The community stood up to the police, banded together in numbers, and fought harder than ever for freedom and equality.
It was a pivotal moment. This turning point became the catalyst that drove the LGBTQ community’s appeals for human rights forward to where they are now. The community and its allies recognize June as World Pride Month because of the movement that arose out of the Stonewall riots.
In Canada, while many of our cities — including Toronto and Lethbridge — honour our successes and gather together to celebrate love and equality, several other destinations have yet to share their colourful Prides in 2021.
Here are a five cities whose 2021 celebrations are still to come. As travel begins to open up with the COVID-19 pandemic waning, consider adding them to your itinerary to help local economies recover — while keeping public-health advisories at top of mind (and noting which events are being held virtually).
Dates: July 19 to August 3
Vancouver fulfills its potential as a magnificent party location with the picturesque beaches of English Bay playing host to portions of the Pride festival. Outdoor events like art walks, picnics, and history tours are key. But it’s the truly unique cruises that set Vancouver Pride apart. Chose from several options, including a day cruise, a dance cruise and even a bear cruise that sets sail in the early evening to show your pride on the open water while taking in the beautiful city in the backdrop.
Dates: August 9-15
Montreal’s Pride Festival, Fierté Montréal, is the largest LGBTQ francophone gathering in world. During the week-long festival, Montreal shares its array of cultural and community activities — a showcase of the city’s local talents (70% of large-scale productions are created by Montrealers). As true ambassadors of arts and culture, Fierté Montréal organizers continue to deliver free events. In 2019 (the last year the festival was held), more than 150 events were hosted at no cost to the public — in case you needed any more incentive to visit.
Dates: August 12-22
On the final day of Pride Week, Halifax sees a sporting event unlike any other: The Dykes vs. Divas, a softball game where seemingly anything goes. From water balloons to smoke bombs and even an impromptu wrestling match, the game is as much of a competition as it is a colourful and entertaining spectacular for the crowds that fill the bleachers and stake their claims in the grasses.
While the Divas show up in full face, the Dykes, many of whom have grown up playing competitive sports, arrive to take back the derogatory name and celebrate it.
Dates: August 27 to September 6
Although Calgary Pride has made the difficult decision to cancel its 2021 Pride Parade because of the pandemic, a plethora of other unique and exceptional events will take place throughout the city. One of this year’s keystone events will be “Sashay Fillet”, which will see drag queens and kings paired with notable chefs in a hybrid lip-sync-slash-cooking-competition unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Additionally many of Calgary’s local purveyors will be offering limited edition sips and snacks, which share important milestones and messages from the LGBTQ community as part of a local initiative called The LOVED. Collection.
Dates: September 3-12
With COVID-19 safety still top priority, Winnipeg has chosen to name/theme its 2021 celebrations, “Virtual Pride” saying, “This theme refers not only to how we will deliver our events (virtually), but also how we want to engage and get together with the GSRD (Gender, Social and Relationship Diverse) community.”
From an online parade, to a host of other streaming events, Winnipeg will be able to share its true colours wider and farther than ever through the use of its hashtag, #VirtualPrideWPG.