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Montreal’s Pride Festival is about to kick off and organizers say, this time, they’re ready | CBC News


The 17th edition of Montreal’s Pride festival is about to start and organizers are promising that everything is in place to ensure the festival’s “flagship event,” the parade, will go ahead. 

On Wednesday, the organization presented a colourful and varied program, attempting to leave behind the disappointment associated with the cancellation of last year’s parade, which was axed at the 11th hour.

This year, the city is renewing its confidence in Pride Montreal’s organizers, including Simon Gamache, who remains in his role as the executive director. 

“Yes, there was the cancellation last year, but this year it’s going to be grand,” Alia Hassan-Cournol, councillor for the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, said at a Wednesday morning’s news conference.

More than 150 artists will perform at the festival, which runs from Aug. 3 to 13, including drag queen Barbada, and singers M?a and Klô Pelgag. Events will be held in the Village and the Olympic Park, near the Pie-IX Metro station. 

For a full list of events, you can visit the Pride Montreal website

“After a year of consultation, evolution and transformation, Fierté Montréal has overhauled its governance, solidified its operations, redefined its mission and reimagined its brand image. Everything is in place to welcome the more than 15,000 people who are expected to turn out (for the Pride parade),” reads a news release issued by the organization.

Last year, the Pride parade was cancelled with only a few hours’ notice, initially justified by the organization because of “a lack of volunteers.”

A later investigation found, however, that it was a misunderstanding between two of the organization’s employees that led to the parade’s cancellation, because they had forgotten to hire staff for the event.

Disappointed parade-goers took part in citizens’ marches and other spontaneously organized events.

Focus on the Village

The festival includes a number of events taking place in the Village neighbourhood, including the opening ceremony on Aug. 3, a series of comedy, drag and musical performances, a book fair and a series of conferences. 

But city officials are attempting to address the concerns of residents and business owners who have raised safety concerns about social cohesion amid a rise in addiction and mental health issues in the area. 

Bruno Laprade, one of the organizers, said the festival is partnering with community groups in the area who are working to address social issues in the Village. 

“Let’s not hide it, the social issues in the village are real,” he said. “We’re not trying to push them away or ignore them, on the contrary, it is together that we will be able to find sustainable, humane solutions.”


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