Surrey will be hosting its first ever Pride parade on June 26, the city confirmed to Daily Hive in an email.
Surrey Pride Society president Shawn Ewing tells Daily Hive that this has been in the works for a while, but the need for a Pride celebration in the city was heightened by the recent mass shooting at an Orlando gay club.
She says the vision, however, will be on a smaller scale than Vancouver’s Pride celebrations.
“Most people were not wanting that kind of a parade, and so the future development of it is still kind of loose – people wanted a greener parade.”
And by “greener”, Ewing says there will be no parade floats at all, just people marching in solidarity and support of people in the LGBT community.
“This year, we really wanted to just establish to have a parade, because people feel the need and I agree, so this year was intended to be a small footprint.”
The route will be fairly short. Ewing says they will meet at Surrey City Hall Plaza and will march along University Boulevard down to Holland Park where the festival is being held.
Beyond creating visibility for members of the LGBT community, Ewing believes holding a Pride parade in Surrey will be instrumental in creating togetherness across all communities.
“It’s the one time of year where we can come together and reflect on the past, present, and future.”
“We lose way too many of our transgender brothers and sisters every year, and their deaths go virtually unnoticed and yet they’re some of the most heinous crimes,” she adds.
Initially, Ewing says she wasn’t expecting much of a turnout, but now they’re expecting between 200 and 500 people to show up.
As for the safety of attendees, she says there will be a strong RCMP presence to keep an eye on things.
When: Sunday, June 26; 11:30 am
Parade Route: Starts at Surrey City Hall, goes along University Boulevard, and finishes at Holland Park