Local Pride parade forced to relocate
The Town of Richmond Hill says move is a result of traffic and budget concerns
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