A Warm Welcome at the Canadian Border
By: Joe Stabb
I don’t normally write editorials, but I was so moved when crossing the border from the United States into Canada to attend the opening ceremonies at World Pride Toronto that I just had to share and give a shout out to the Officer and Canada Border Services Agency.
I was driving across the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge between the United States and Canada on my way to cover the opening ceremonies for World Pride Toronto. I have crossed the border dozens of times since I was a child for both leisure and business. I pulled up to Officer Bruch’s gate and handed him my passport and he asked why I was traveling to Canada. I explained that I was covering World Pride in Toronto for Connextions Magazine.
Normally, I would have been asked a couple of other random questions and then sent on my way. Officer Bruch began to tell me how refreshing it is to see gays and lesbians crossing the border. Bruch began to say that LGBT people are always happy, even when waiting hours to cross the border, they are always happy and that makes him smile when he is having a bad day at work. He continued to tell me that he wishes he could put a rainbow flag on his post and only service LGBT people as they crossed the border.
To be honest, this was a delight to hear and a refreshing start to the day as I entered Canada. Remember when you travel, that the impression you leave on others around the world do not just reflect on yourself, but everyone that you identify a connection with.
World Pride Begins in Toronto
By: Joe Stabb
The LGBT community has traveled from around the world to be in Toronto for the 10 day World Pride celebration. Over 2 million people are expected during this time frame to enjoy pride related programming all around Toronto.
“World Pride has been built on the work of generations of activists in Toronto and around the world, and in part on historic new partnerships with cultural organizations across the city,” states Kevin Beaulieu, Executive Director at Pride Toronto. “In addition to the parade, marches, and street festival, I hope you will take time to visit the special World Pride partner programming at theatres, galleries, museums, and festivals.”
There is a full agenda of happenings around Toronto including musical guests Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, and Steve Grand, LGBT-themed theatre productions at various venues, an art exhibit commemorating the 45th Anniversary of Stonewall, the Human Rights Conference, a grand pride wedding featuring over 100 couples, and various parades and marches. You can view a complete schedule of events online at http://worldpridetoronto.com/#festival-calendar.
“Pride is truly the face of our movement and our fight for equality is not just measured in victories in the courthouse or in a legislature, but by changing people’s hearts and minds,” says Gary Van Horn, Co-President of InterPride. “We remember the struggles that those have had before us as we move forward to a world where there is full cultural, social and legal equality for all.”
Horn goes on to state that there are 81 countries in the world that it is still a crime to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and 10 countries where the crime is punishable by death.
Toronto is the first city in North America to host World Pride.
“The City of Toronto has been getting ready to roll out a spectacular welcome to the global LGBTQ2S community and we are excited that our commitment to creating an inclusive, welcoming city will be featured in the international spotlight,” says Kristyn Wong-Tam, Toronto City Councillor Ward 27.
For more information on World Pride Toronto, visit http://worldpridetoronto.com/.
Community Togetherness at Pride in the Park
By: Joe Stabb
The community converged together to celebrate diversity at the 3rd Annual Pride in the Park Festival hosted by Pride Niagara in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, on June 7, 2014.
More than 2,000 people from the Niagara Region of Ontario were expected this year. According to Enzo De Divitiis, Pride Niagara Chair, “we have two times the entertainment and two times the vendors this year.” There are 45 new vendors this year. They have also increased to 10 band performances all to be headlined by Shangela, from RuPaul’s Drag Race, in the evening.
Sean Ban Beaton, lead singer of Fitness, was very excited to bring his band from Toronto to perform at Pride in the Park. Originally from Welland, he was happy to support his home community and share their love of music and fitness with the crowd.
This is the only pride festival in the Niagara Region of Ontario which encompasses Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, and Welland. It takes five volunteer board members and fifteen day-of volunteers to make the event a success. This is in addition to the many sponsors that help to underwrite the costs.
For more information about Pride Niagara and future events, visit www.prideniagara.com.
Shangela – http://www.shangela.com
Fitness - https://www.facebook.com/fitnessdisco
Tourism Niagara - http://www.tourismniagara.com/
Connextions Magazine, the Travel & Lifestyle Magazine for the LGBTQ Traveler, is your trusted resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel destinations, vacation ideas, fun travel videos, LGBTQ travel guides and the latest news relevant to our entire rainbow community. Connextions Magazine focuses on celebrating the LGBTQ Traveler providing information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel, our LGBTQ culture, the diverse style of our rainbow community, adventures, gay romance, tips for Lesbian Moms, Gay Dads, Bisexual, Transgender Parents and families.
Connextions Magazine LLC | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | USA
PO Box 242, Calverton NY 11933
MISSION: Connextions Magazine celebrates the LGBT traveler. Making connections to travel like a local, whether on a quick weekend getaway or a luxury vacation, Connextions transports our readers through dazzling photography and insightful content about travel, dining, culture and style to destinations and memorable travel experiences across the globe.