Lo­cal Pride pa­rade forced to re­lo­cate

The Town of Rich­mond Hill says move is a re­sult of traf­fic and bud­get con­cerns

Richmond Hill Post - - News - by Jor­dan Boyes

The York Re­gion Pride pa­rade has been forced to move from the downtown core of Rich­mond Hill. The pa­rade has been held on Yonge Street be­tween Crosby Av­enue and Ma­jor Macken­zie Drive since 2013.

De­vel­op­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for York Re­gion Pride Fest Ja­cob Gal fears that the move will limit the com­mu­nity’s vis­i­bil­ity, an is­sue that many mem­bers of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity may face.

“Vis­i­bil­ity is what [the LGBTQ com­mu­nity] want, and a pa­rade in the cen­tral hub gets that,” said Gal. “To cre­ate vis­i­bil­ity some­times you have to cre­ate a lit­tle bit of in­con­ve­nience.”

The Town of Rich­mond Hill has sug­gested that the pa­rade take place on Vern Dynes Way, at a park ad­ja­cent to El­gin Bar­row Arena, just east of Yonge Street.

How­ever, Pride Fest or­ga­niz­ers have asked that the pa­rade take place on Les­lie Street, much like the Santa Claus pa­rade, but an an­swer has not yet been re­ceived.

The com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the Town of Rich­mond Hill, Meeta Gandhi, said, spe­cial events such as the Pride pa­rade “re­quire a num­ber of town re­sources.” These re­sources in­clude se­cu­rity de­tail, waste man­age­ment and road clo­sures, ac­cord­ing to Gandhi.

She said the main rea­son the Pride pa­rade lo­ca­tion has to change is due to the town’s grant fund­ing and traf­fic is­sues im­pact­ing Yonge Street.

This is not the only event to be re­lo­cated from Yonge Street. The con­struc­tion of the vi­vaNext rapid­way contribute­d to the re­lo­ca­tion of Rich­mond Hill’s Santa Claus pa­rade and the Her­itage Fest in 2016.

Gandhi said that in 2014 the town up­dated its Fes­ti­val and Events Strat­egy Plan, which re­quires events such as the Pride pa­rade to sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion to the town’s spe­cial events ad­vi­sory team. The team then looks at pos­si­ble strate­gies that will help make the event run smoothly.

Gal said Pride Fest or­ga­niz­ers are open to re­lo­cat­ing the pa­rade to a dif­fer­ent mu­nic­i­pal­ity that will pro­vide the de­sired vis­i­bil­ity, by try­ing to stay as cen­tral as pos­si­ble.

Gandhi said it’s not cer­tain as of yet if any pa­rades will re­turn to Yonge Street.

The town is con­tin­u­ing dis­cus­sions on where the event can be held.

Last year’s York Re­gion Pride pa­rade on Yonge Street

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