It’s interesting, but when I sat down to write this post, it occurred to me that part of the reason I’ve never believed the old saw that Ottawa’s a blase government town is due to Capital Pride. The annual parade is actually one of my formative Ottawa memories – I was walking in front of Parliament Hill in 2005, on a visit from Toronto, when Wellington Street was suddenly invaded by a long column of very eclectic folks, waving and dancing and generally having – pardon the terrible, terrible pun – a gay old time. I’m pretty sure I even saw Ed Broadbent in there somewhere.
I guess what I’m saying is that, at that moment, something in my subconscious clicked: Ottawa wasn’t just a city of stuffed shirts. (The memory’s a bit hazy, but I’m pretty sure there were few shirts – stuffed or otherwise – on display that sunny summer day.) It was a city that could party alongside Montreal, Toronto, or any other major Canadian metropolis. So thanks for that, Capital Pride.
Back to the present-day: we got Lauryn Kronick, Apartment613 contributor and Pride’s vice-chair of marketing and communications, to give us a rundown of some of the not-to-be-missed events during this week’s festival. While the annual Capital Pride Pageant – where those with the gift of drag compete for the titles of Mr. and Mrs. Capital Pride 2011 – and the Divas vs. Dykes softball match at Riverain Park have come and gone, there’s plenty of events, both fun and solemn, still to come. Take it away, Lauryn!
Human Rights Vigil, Thursday, August 25, 7:30pm
Location: Human Rights Monument at Elgin and Lisgar
Join us as we recognize the struggles of our past throughout the world for human rights and dignity to live our lives safely. The vigil will include a diverse group of speakers, including Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi representatives from the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, the North Star Triangle Project, the Youth Services Bureau, the Centre for Inquiry and The Village project. They will speak to the past, the present and most importantly the future of the GLBTTQ movement within Canada and beyond. All ages, free.
Dyke March, Saturday August 27, 12:30pm
Location: Human Rights Monument
This annual tradition continues in 2011, with a rally followed by the march at 1:30 pm. An afternoon of celebration follows at Dundonald Park. All ages, free.
Alternative Stage, Saturday August 27, 5-11pm
Locations: Marion Dewar Plaza, City Hall
It’s an afternoon-to-evening spectacle of entertainment with local and national artists at city hall. Capital Pride’s alternative stage hosts a live theatrical performance of Hedwig & the Angry Inch: The Rock Musical (performed by Breathe.Feel.Love), local all-girl pop rock band Apocalypstic, a burlesque revue, and headliners The Cliks. This is a licensed, all-ages outdoor event. $5 entrance at gate.
Rainbow Party 12, Saturday August 27, 9″30pm
Location: Capital Music Hall, 128 York
This is Capital Pride’s biggest party of the year, one that brings everybody together for a huge dance party. Featuring DJs Shane Percy (Toronto) and Relentless (NYC), and stars from MTV’s show 1 Girl 5 Gays, the Rainbow Party is the party event of the week. Tickets: $10 in advance (Venus Envy, Wilde’s), $15 at door. 19+
Capital Pride Parade, Sunday, August 28, 1pm
Location: Begins at Garden of the Provinces, heads along Wellington, turns right down Bank, left along Laurier and ends at City Hall.
The 26th annual Pride Parade features more than 75 groups and floats participating in a colourful spectacle that’s got something for everyone. The parade is unsurprisingly a festival highlight. Free.
Capital Pride Community Fair and Festival, Sunday, August 28, 2:00 p.m.
Location: Marion Dewar Plaza, City Hall
Come hang out with thousands of your closest friends from the community! The community fair and festival is an afternoon of information on local GLBTTQ services, celebration, and entertainment. Featured artists include Disco Inferno, francophone punk rocker Franklyne, and pop-disco group Fuzz, Boylesque T.O, Montreal singer-songwriter Zara Ahmed, drag performances, and much more. This is a licensed, all-ages event. $5 cover at the gates.