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History Of Pride
Select a year to see photos and memories from past pride weeks in York Region.
More 2013 Photos
'Singing Out' perform at the Pride Church Service.
'Singing Out' perform at the Pride Church Service.
Candles adorn the rainbow colours to celebrate diversity, inclusiveness and hope.
Candles adorn the rainbow colours to celebrate diversity, inclusiveness and hope.
Mayor Frank Scarpitti conveys greetings to attendees at the Town of Markham flag raising ceremony.
Mayor Frank Scarpitti conveys greetings to attendees at the Town of Markham flag raising ceremony.
Members of PFLAG York Region joined other attendees at our Richmond Hill social event.
Members of PFLAG York Region joined other attendees at our Richmond Hill social event.
The rainbow flag flies, for the first time, in East Gwillimbury.
The rainbow flag flies, for the first time, in East Gwillimbury.
Yonge Street awaits the region's inaugural pride parade.
Yonge Street awaits the region's inaugural pride parade.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and York Region District School Board representativves march in the parade.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and York Region District School Board representatives march in the parade.
The York Region GSA and York Pride Fest float joins the parade.
The York Region GSA and York Pride Fest float joins the parade.
The cast of 'Hair' from the Wavestage Theatre Company.
The cast of 'Hair' from the Wavestage Theatre Company.
York Region GSA members.
York Region GSA members.
Sexy Party.
Sexy Party.
Sexy Party.
Sexy Party.
Pride BBQ In The Park.
Pride BBQ In The Park.
Pride BBQ In The Park.
Pride BBQ In The Park.
June 15th-23rd, 2013
2013 marked the thirteenth year of pride celebrations in York Region. This year:
  • Pride week was launched by an official flag-raising ceremony hosted by the City of Markham.
  • The rainbow flag was also flown on civic flag poles in Aurora, Georgina, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and also, for the first time, in East Gwillimbury.
  • Pride awareness displays were mounted at major public libraries across the region.
  • Our Pride Church Service event at Richmond Hill United Church celebrated not only our Pride Week, but also the church becoming an "Affirming Ministry" within the United Church of Canada.
  • York Pride Fest featured social events in Aurora and Richmond Hill.
  • Other events also included a youth event at Laser Quest, a Sexy Party hosted by the AIDS committee of York Region and a Pride BBQ.
  • But most notably, history was made on June 22nd, when we staged York Region's first ever Pride Parade on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill.
  • One week later, in Toronto, the only entirely pink float in the Toronto pride parade conveyed a contingent representing York Pride Fest and other LGBT organizations in York Region.
Laser Quest Youth Event
Laser Quest On Saturday 15th June, LGBT youth from across the region blasted away homophobia on their intrepid journey through Laser Quest in Richmond Hill.
The event included free pizza and refreshments and was open to all LGBT youth and their allies up to age 26.
Pride Church Service
Pride Church Service at Richmond Hill United Church Continuing a tradition that dates back to 2002, York Region's 2013 Pride Week festival included a Pride Church Service at Richmond Hill United Church on Sunday June 16th. The service, which included participation by members of PFLAG York Region, was an historic occasion in the life of Richmond Hill United Church as it was also a celebration of the church becoming an ’Affirming Ministry’ within the United Church of Canada.
Attendees enjoyed some amazing music thanks to the voices of ’Singing Out’, a 20-voice LGBT choir from Toronto, combined with inspirational organ playing by music director Barry Peters. The service was delivered by Revs. Warren McDougall and Linda Butler of Richmond Hill United Church, and followed by a social hour with light refreshments, hosted by members of the church and PFLAG York Region.
Raising The Rainbow - Official Flag-Raising Ceremony
The Rainbow Flag raised at Richmond Hill Civic Centre. On June 17th, the Town of Markham hosted this year's official Pride flag-raising ceremony at their civic centre. Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Councillor Valerie Burke, members of Council and representatives from York Pride Fest, PFLAG York Region, York Regional Police and other local organizations attended the event, to honour the history, courage, diversity and future of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities of York Region. The flag raising was followed by a reception in the Great Hall where refreshments were provided by the Town of Markham. Just two weeks later, Markham, Canada's 16th largest municipality with a population of 310,000, ceased to be a town and became the City of Markham.
Social Evening At The Lone Star Texas Grill in Richmond Hill
Lone Star Texas Grill In Richmond Hill Also on Monday 17th June we hosted an informal social evening at the Lone Star Texas Grill in Richmond Hill. The event was attended by many community members of various age groups, their families and friends, as well as many members of PFLAG York Region and youth from York Region GSA.
Social Evening At Play Pizzeria and Pub in Aurora
Casey's Bar And Grill On the evening of Wednesday 19th June, we hosted a second social evening at Play Pizzeria and Pub in Aurora. In recent years, Play in Aurora had been a favourite venue for many LGBT social events.
York Region's First Pride Parade!
Dr Helena Jaczek, MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham, History was made on June 22nd 2013, when we staged York Region's first Pride Parade on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill.
York Pride Fest was proud to welcome Dr Helena Jaczek, MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham, as our Parade Marshal for 2013.
The parade also included the cast of 'Hair', from the Wavestage Theatre Company, performing songs from the musical that they staged, one month later, at Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
YRGSA Leah Sheridan from Keswick, her transgender daughter Danielle and other family members and friends rode a colourful mermaid float powered by a pink tow truck. The family and their friends had worked on the float for weeks, committed in their desire to support Danielle publicly and raise awareness on transgender issues, in the hope of giving others the courage and freedom to be who they are.
Other participants represented various organizations including York Region Gay-Straight Alliance (YRGSA), Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, PFLAG York Region + PFLAG Durham Region, Alliston Roller Derby Group, World Pride 2014 and Pride Toronto, Richmond Hill Federal Liberals, AIDS Committee York Region, My House: Rainbow Resources of York Region, GayYorkRegion.com, York Region EMS, York Region District School Board, Annual Caribana White Tie Cruise, Richmond Hill Fire & Emergency Services, YRT/Viva, CUPE, York Regional Police, Markham-Unionville Provincial Young Liberals, LOFT Community Services, MADD, Pathways, Yellowbrick House and York Childrens' Aid Society.
Featuring a total 30 contingents, 15 vehicles and more that 250 participants, the parade started at the Elgin Barrow Arena Complex, travelled west to Yonge Street and then north, past the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, ending at the Falcon & Firkin pub.
Following the parade, organizers and participants joined spectators for brunch at the Falcon and Firkin pub.
Sexy Party
Casey's Bar And Grill On the evening of the parade, the AIDS Committee of York Region (ACYR) hosted a big sexy party at the Richmond Hill Heritage Centre.
Celebrating the launch of ACYR’s Condoms Are Healthy campaign, the party provided a safe space for their LGBTTQ friends, and HIV positive men and women to have an evening of music and friendship with their allies and admirers.
ACYR kindly donated all proceeds from this event to York Pride Fest.
Pride BBQ In The Park
Pride week concluded the following afternoon with our Pride BBQ at Richmond Green, the largest park in York Region.
Barb Urman deliver keynote address During the event, welcoming greetings were delivered by Geoff Dawes, Mayor of Aurora, Julia Munro, MPP for York Simcoe, Chief Eric Jolliffe of York Regional Police and Dave Barrow, Mayor of Richmond Hill.
Additionally, Barb Urman, coordinator of LGBT+ services at Family Services of York Region, spoke of the history and transformation of York Region's LGBT related services over past decades, her personal and professional experiences during that period and planned future initiatives aimed at better serving the needs of our transgender residents.
After the brief formalities, live music entertainment was provided throughout the afternoon by The Wilma's.
A community fair featured a selection of local businesses and community organizations offering information on a range of LGBT related topics.
Toronto Pride
York Pride Fest participates in the Toronto Pride parade. The following weekend, we participated in the Toronto pride parade on June 30th. This was the sixth consecutive year that LGBT organizations of York Region had been represented in the pride parade. Our parade volunteers included representatives from several organizations including the York Region GSA (YRGSA). Banners were displayed on our float advertising York Pride Fest and GayYorkRegion.com, as we participated in the parade attended by more than one million spectators.
Pride Displays
Throughout Pride Week, pride displays were mounted at major Public Libraries in Aurora, Holland Landing, Keswick, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.
Pride display at Richmond Hill Public Library
Proclamations
In 2013, Pride week was again granted official recognition by York Region. It was also proclaimed by all municipalities, except King Township which continues to enforce a 'no proclamations' policy introduced in 2004.
York Region Map: A=Aurora, EG=East Gwillimbury, G=Georgina, K=King, M=Markham, N=Newmarket, RH=Richmoond Hill, V=Vaughan, W-S=Whitchurch-Stouffville
Our Sponsors
We would like to thank the following sponsors of York Pride Fest 2013:
Special thanks goes also to Fred's 24-Hour Towing Services of Georgina who provided their amazing and unique pink truck, with driver, for Leah Sheridan to use as her float in our York Region pride parade. As if that wasn't enough, at short notice they then provided the truck for a second time, enabling York Pride Fest and volunteers from allied organizations to ride it so proudly through the Toronto parade.
At the end of 2011, Fred Walker, the owner of Fred's Towing had painted this, his newest truck, bright pink to raise money for the cancer care centre at Southlake Regional Health Centre. Subsequently, the towing company donated a percentage of all CAA calls to the hospital.
Fred and driver Dave, we love ya!
Fred's 24-Hour Towing Services, Georgina