Ottawa’s biggest and most colourful Capital Pride Parade to date

Photos by Aaron Hemens

The streets of Centretown were flooded with a wide variety of colourful scenes and individuals on Sunday, Aug. 26, as thousands of people from all walks of life came together to celebrate the 2018 Capital Pride parade, the finale to the weeklong festival of Pride celebrations.

The parade, which featured a new record of 150 participating groups, began on Bank Street and Gladstone Avenue at 1:30 p.m., heading north down Kent Street before looping back up to Bank and Somerset at around 3 p.m.

“It’s very important to keep celebrating Pride. Every year in Ottawa it’s bigger and bigger. It’s still grassroots here, so it still has that community feel and there’s still us marching on the street. It’s brilliant,” said Marie Robertson, a parade participant and volunteer with the Ottawa Senior Pride Network.

Robertson, who described herself as an activist of 45 years, said that it was wonderful to see how much the Pride parade and its accompanying celebrations have changed over the years.

“It’s way more inclusive. There’s just things that are happening now that I would’ve never in my fondest dreams thought would happen, so I’m very excited to be here today,” she said.

The parade route was a stream of vibrant colours, loud music and radiant energy as a number of floats from local organizations—such as the Shepherds of Good Hope, the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, the Minwaashin Lodge, and the Wabano Centre—bopped their way through Centretown.

“Well it only gets bigger and bigger every year,” said China Doll, a local drag queen and the 2018 grand marshal of Capital Pride. “Thank God that the weather is cooperating. The angels aren’t kissing or crying. We have sunshine!”

China Doll, whose real name is Ed Kwan, added that the Pride parade is more than just about having fun—it’s also about unity, community, equality, and creating awareness.

“I think for every lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans, 2+, everybody—we are all one tribe. Straight or not. It doesn’t matter,” he said.

Kimmy Dymond, who was recently crowned as the 2018 Ms. Capital Pride at the Pride Pageant, said that Pride to her means everything.

“This is my life, everything that I am—I’m just lucky that I was born in this generation, because if I was born way back before and we didn’t have this, I’d be dying,” she said.

Kwan greeted on-lookers from his own personal convertible, while Dymond rode alongside Charli Deville, the 2018 Mr. Capital Pride, and Mimi Violette, the 2018 Mx. Capital Pride.

Mayor Jim Watson was also in attendance, keeping himself entertained as he sprayed the crowd with his dinosaur water-gun while riding atop a float.

Costumed participants, such as the Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion of the Capital City Garrison and a Spider-Man cosplayer known as “Priderman,” were also met with great enthusiasm from the audience.

“Who said Ottawa’s boring? No, no, no, no! We are very, very, connected today on Pride day,” Kwan said.

Toby Whitfield, the Capital Pride chairperson, emphasized the significance of the Pride parade and the festival in general, noting that similar celebrations around the world serve as crucial markers of acceptance.

“It is important that we continue to create space for the LGBTQ2+ community to celebrate and to be able to be who they are and continue to do that,” he said.