Canada’s East Coast is a wonderland of national and provincial parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites, stunning hiking trails and seemingly endless kilometres of spectacular beaches. Rich in history and indigenous culture, this was also the first landing site for Viking warriors a millennium ago, as well as Canada’s first European settlers. The provinces of Newfoundland/ Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick make up this dynamic region.
Halifax, the largest urban centre in the region, is a major port city, university town, naval centre and the capital of the province of Nova Scotia. As the largest city on Canada’s Atlantic coast, Halifax has a well-developed LGBTQ infrastructure and is home to Canada’s fourth largest LGBTQ cultural festival, Pride Parade and Community Fair. Over 60,000 spectators and 1,400 parade participants joined in the festivities in 2011 as they celebrated 24 years. Halifax also offers year-round events and festivals of many kinds, including the Nova Scotia International Tattoo, Atlantic Jazz Festival, Atlantic Fringe Festival, Atlantic Film Festival, International Buskers Festival, Maritime Fall Fair and Port of Wines Festival. 2011 also saw Hal-Con, Atlantic Canada’s largest Sci-Fi Fantasy Convention, participate in the annual Pride Parade wearing t-shirts in support of the Star Trek legend’s “It’s OK to be Takei” project promoting international acceptance and free speech.
Prince Edward Island celebrated 13 years of the annual Pride PEI Festival in 2011, with eight days of activities, kicking off a full calendar of events that include, an annual Pot Luck at the Evening Primrose B & B in North Tryon, Pride Flag Raisings at Charlottetown City Hall, Stratford Town Hall, a Youth Pride Dance, a Burlesque show put on by PEI’s finest queens, Amber Baby and Alexas Styles Davenport, a softball tournament, the 13th annual Pride Parade, and the PEI Pride Dance Party at The Wave on the UPEI campus. Year-round dances are also put on by ARCPEI, a community based organization offering services to LGBTQ residents and their supporters. On another note of excitement for 2011, Sir Elton John has agreed to play 2 back-to-back dates in the town of Summerside, PEI, September 14 and 15, in addition to his show in nearby Sydney, Nova Scotia. Should be amazing!
New Brunswick Pride celebrations include Fierte Moncton Pride, August 17-21, Fredericton Pride, August 7-14, and Port City Rainbow Pride in Saint John, August 6-14. Pride celebrations in all three cities include Flag Raising ceremonies at their respective City Halls, Pride BBQ’s, Pride Parties, Pride Parades, and more.
Saint John’s Newfoundland celebrates Pride July 18-24, with a Flag Raising at Memorial University, Saint John’s campus, Trans Solidarity Day, Sexuality Unconference, BBQ & Patio Party, Pride Trivia at Bitters, Rock with Pride Dance at Yellowbelly and Spank 2011 Huge Pride Party at Bellavista.
On the business side of things, the Atlantic Rainbow Business Association, founded in 2004, was officially launched as an association in 2006, and offers networking opportunities for member businesses throughout the region.
Be sure to check out these Atlantic Canada resources for additional information, 2012 dates and schedules: