Thousands of people turned out for a parade and party to wrap up Pride Week in Nanaimo.
Nanaimo’s biggest-ever Pride celebration happened Sunday downtown, with a parade and then a festival at the park.
The parade made its way along Victoria Crescent, Commercial Street and Front Street and finished at Maffeo Sutton Park where there were speeches, entertainment and activities.
Mayor Leonard Krog said Nanaimo RCMP estimated 20,000 people downtown.
“Marching in the parade today, you had a sense that something really special was happening…” he said. “This is, for me, a day of unremitting joy. The sense of celebration and continuity and progress is alive and well. I see the youth of Nanaimo out in full force, whether it’s from our public schools or from VIU, with their parents and their grandparents and everyone assembled here celebrating Pride Day in a way that is absolutely astonishing.”
Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly thanked organizers and said he loves the way that Nanaimo Pride has grown.
“It’s about people standing up for who they are, being proud of who you are and allies coming together and saying, ‘we love you, we are your friends, we are your coworkers, we are your brothers, your sisters and we’re here for you,’” Manly said.
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson suggested progress is being made now on rights that members of the LGBTQ community should have had a decade or a century earlier.
“There is more to do, Lord knows, but we’re acting,” she said. “This is way beyond the time for simple statements of solidarity. There’s too much work to do for human rights, for gender rights, for queer rights. Keep the pressure up. We need to walk our talk and walk together.”
Pride Week in Nanaimo was June 4-9 and in addition to the parade and festival, there was also a flag-raising ceremony and other events to help celebrate the LGBTQ community, advocate for gay and trans rights and expand acceptance and alliance.
“This pride week was the most successful ever and the turnout was amazing and we wouldn’t have done it if everybody hadn’t come out and celebrated with us,” said Alessandro Iachelli, Nanaimo Pride Society president. “This pride week is also about our allies because without our allies that support our LGBTQ youth, seniors, people of colour, transgender, drag queens and everybody else under the rainbow, we would not be celebrating today here in Nanaimo.”
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) June 9, 2019
Our MP, all three MLAs and eight city council members were at #NanaimoPride today. Best dressed were councillors Brown, Armstrong, Geselbracht and Hemmens and MP Manly… https://t.co/icGhhwmOS2 #Pride2019 pic.twitter.com/SUunX5EJXl
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) June 10, 2019