Although the 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival was cancelled, Edmontonians can still take to other organizations and surrounding communities to celebrate.
The Edmonton Pride Festival Society released an email on April 10 saying it decided to cancel the annual event. The next day, Global News spoke with a member of the society’s board of directors, who said a funding and volunteer deficit, as well as a belief the organization could not fulfill its goal, led to the decision to cancel the event.
“We felt that we were not fulfilling our mission this year, which is to unify our community,” said the board member, whose name Global News agreed to keep anonymous.
“We felt it best to step back now at a point where we can do that without causing harm to the society’s structure.”
Members of the LGBTQ community — and many other Edmontonians — were disheartened by the news, left without a way to formally celebrate diversity and inclusion this June.
However, there are numerous other organizations and communities hosting pride events this year that people who wish to celebrate can attend instead.
The not-for-profit Outloud Foundation for LGBTQ Community Supports and Services has hosted pride events in St. Albert for the past four years.
According to organizers, last year’s festivities saw around 500 people in attendance. However, with the cancellation of the Edmonton festival, they expect a much higher turnout this year.
“It’s going to be considerably bigger than it was ever before,” executive director and co-founder of Outloud, Terry Soetaert, said.
“It really excites me that people are looking for a pride event to be able to attend.”
The fifth annual Pride St. Albert Summer Festival will be held on June 22, along with other celebrations throughout the previous week.
The City of Fort Saskatchewan will be home to numerous pride events in collaboration with the altView Foundation for Gender Variant and Sexual Minorities. Dow Canada, the Families First Society, Family and Community Support Services and Victim Services all took part in planning the festivities as well.
The seven-day event will mark the city’s first ever Pride Week, running from May 24 to 31.
“I think we will see Edmontonians going to those other communities for pride events,” executive director of altView, Michael Green, said.
“Ordinarily, it’s the small communities going into Edmonton to celebrate pride — but now it’s kind of the inverse, which is a really interesting dynamic that we’ve never seen before.”
Strathcona County’s first ever Pride Week — also in partnership with the altView Foundation — will run from May 27 to June 2.
“Both communities (Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan) are celebrating their first year, which is a little bit poetic given that it’s the 50th anniversary of not only Stonewall, but as well Bill C-150, which decriminalized homosexuality here in Canada in 1969,” Green added.
There will also be a Pride crosswalk painting on June 22 at 1:00 p.m., located at the corner of 49 Street and 51 Avenue.
WATCH BELOW: City will work with community to facilitate Pride events — Edmonton mayor
If you know of any other pride events happening in the area, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— With files from Emily Mertz, Global News