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History of Pride in Canada


Happy 2024 Pride Community! 👋🎉I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season and that your year has started out just as you envisioned. 

With such a long history in Canada, and Pride starting with grassroots protests, my hope for the Pride Community is to ensure the spirit of Pride is present and thriving year round. This bodes the question: What is the History of Pride in Canada? A vital topic to explore, I'd like to highlight some major Canadian events that took place to ensure our liberation in the movement that has come to be.


Pride Canada Banner.jpg


August 28th 1971:


The very first protests for Gay rights took place in Ottawa and Vancouver amassing roughly around 100 people from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto and the surrounding areas in the pouring rain at Parliament Hill for Canada's first Gay Liberation Protest and march. Due to the discriminiatory federal laws and policies concerning those in the community, a list of 10 demands for equal rights and protections were made and pursued for decades until the demands were met.


By 1973, Pride events started being held in several Canadian cities including Montreal, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Toronto's Pride weekend is now among the largest Pride events in North America. The first Pride Parade in Canada was unofficially held in Vancouver in 1978. However, it was not until 1981, that the official municipal Pride Parade was held in Vancouver. Vancouver and Montreal hosted the first two official Pride marches and festivals in the country.


June 20th, 1996: 


Bill C-33 was passed adding "sexual orientation" to the Canadian Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation among the Act's prohibited grunds of discrimination.


May 19th, 1999: 


The Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have rights to equal treatment and that the Ontario Family Law Acts definition of "spouse" as a person of the opposite sex is unconstitutional. 


June 10th 2003: 


Michael Lesner and Michael Stark became the first same sex couple to be issued a marriage license and marry in Toronto Ontario after a ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeals. In the next two years, 7 provinces and one terriritory legalize same-sex marriage: B.C, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, New Foundland, Quebec Yukon and New Brunswick.


November 6, 2010:


Angela James, aka "the Wayne Gretzky" of women's hockey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame becoming the first openly gay player and only the second black athlete to be inducted. 


May 5, 2015:


Estefan Cortes-Vargas was the first non-binary politician to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta becoming one of three 2SLGBTQ+ people to be elected to the Alberta Legislature. 


November 5, 2017: 


Julie Lemieux was elected to become the Mayor of Très-Saint-Rédempteur in Quebec. This was the first time a transgender person was elected as mayor in any municipality in Canada. 


December 15, 2017: 


This day marks Kael McKenzie being appointed to the Provincial Court of Manitoba making him the first transgender person appointed a judge in Canada. 


Yours in Community,