The Pride festival in summer 2018 was the largest one ever in Ottawa. Next stop February. [Photo © Aaron Hemens]

Capital Pride moves into winter with five-day event during Winterlude

After its largest festival ever in the summer of 2018, Capital Pride will now celebrate during the winter too. 

The community’s LGTBQ2+ community will bring the first-ever WinterPride to Sparks Street in February.  

The five-day event (Feb. 6 to 10) will include: two evenings of performances on a stage at the corner of Sparks and Bank Streets; Family-friendly activities focused on sports and outdoor activities; the first Capital Pride Awards Gala at the Museum of History in Gatineau; a march on Sunday to recognize the 50-year anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada; a speakers’ series on the topic of advocacy and the second series of contributions from the Capital Pride Community Fund.

“We’re excited to provide important LGBTQ2+ programming … all year round” said Davy Sabourin, Capital Pride Chairperson, in a media release. “Loneliness and isolation can particularly affect members of our community, even more so during the colder months. Ottawa is very much a winter city and we’re stepping out to provide opportunities to celebrate, advocate, educate, and connect people throughout the year.”

Pablo Rodriguez, the Canadian Heritage minister, said his department is looking forward to working with Capital Pride to “celebrate our artistic and culinary talent, Indigenous culture, as well as LGBTQ2+ culture, history and pride.” 

WinterPride will be part of the annual Winterlude festivities (Feb. 1 to Feb. 18).

The NCC’s winter party will run on three weekends with events at three new locations, including Sparks Street, in addition to the Rideau Canal, Jacques Cartier Park and Confederation Park. The first weekend will pay tribute to Indigenous culture, featuring a powwow at the Canadian Museum of History on Feb. 3. 

The annual ice carving competition will move to York Street in the Byward market from Confederation Park. The park will continue to host light displays.

A new event called Snomania will take place in the Glebe with organizers promising to turn the area into “the snowman capital of the planet.” 

The  annual Tim Hortons Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival on the Rideau Canal, takes place Feb. 9.

And on the final weekend the National Arts Centre presents its first Big Bang Festival for all ages Feb. 17 and 18.

Winterlude attracts 600,000 visitors annually, 200,000 from outside the region.

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