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Winnipeg pride festival draws biggest crowd in its history after two-year hiatus

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Global's Abigail Turner speaks with one person who's attending their first ever pride parade after moving to Winnipeg from Churchill – Jun 5, 2022

The Winnipeg Pride parade returned after two years of being put on hold due to the pandemic.

It was bigger than ever as Winnipeg hosted Fierté Canada, where pride associations across the country join in the celebration.

Barry Karlenzig the president of Pride Winnipeg confirmed there was more than 50,000 people that attended activities throughout the weekend. He says that number is the highest they’ve ever seen.

A massive crowd gathered in front of the Manitoba legislature before marching through the streets and gathering near The Forks.

Read more: Inside Pride: Exploring the lesser-known part of the term 2SLGBTQQIA+

It was Nickia McIvor’s first time attending a pride parade.

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“I’m from a small town, I didn’t know many other LGBT people,” said McIvor, who grew up in Churchill and moved to Winnipeg nearly a year ago. The celebration provided a sense of belonging. They began identifying as non-binary after graduating high school.

“I’ve only ever seen queer communities come together online and seeing it in person, it just warms my heart.”

McIvor attended the parade as part of a group that gathered called Pride with Us. The group was organized by a local business called Uphouse.

“We kind of wanted to take that extra step to invite solo pride goers or folks that have never been to pride before to come together with Uphouse to have a more inclusive experience,” said Jordan Witherspoon a Marketing Manager at Uphouse.

Uphouse is a queer-owned marketing agency that’s part of the Canadian Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

“We have many queer folks that work at our business and a lot of our clients are from the queer community as well, so it just made sense for us.”

It also made sense for McIvor who says it’s a perfect opportunity for people like them to experience their first pride event. It’s something they’ve been counting down the days until it began.

“I’ve been waiting for it, ever since I was a young kid i’ve wanted to come to pride.”

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It’s the first of many, says McIvor, who plans to attend in the years to come.

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