It’s final: The 2007 edition of Montreal’s Gay Pride parade is cancelled."I’m terribly disappointed there won’t be a parade this year," says Jacques Tricot, spokesperson for Célébration de la Fierté LGB2T de Montréal, which earlier this year replaced Divers/Cité as organizer of Montreal’s Pride parade and community day, "but there is no alternative."
After a CROP survey reported 76 per cent of festival-goers don’t go to the parade, and 25 per cent of parade-goers don’t attend the rest of the festival, Divers/Cité – after years battling Gay Village merchants who wanted more control and thus, observers point out, reap more profits – decided to offload their expensive (read: insurance and security) Pride parade.
Célébration de la Fierté LGB2T de Montréal was formed and June 16 chosen as the parade’s new date. But the City of Montreal refused a parade permit for June 16. At a mid-April board meeting, Célébration de la Fierté LGB2T de Montréal agreed on possible new dates (end of May and beginning of September). But Tricot says community groups also demanded the board resign to make way for new, democratically elected board members.
Ironically, in 1993, Montreal gay activists placed bets on how few marchers would attend Divers/Cité’s inaugural parade. Against all odds, 5,000 people showed up. In 2003 attendance topped 1.2 million.
In a last-ditch bid to save the 2007 parade, Tricot says Divers/Cité was asked to organize the parade one last time. "But they refused to take it on as [their board] had already made a decision."
Instead, Divers/Cité will continue as a gay cultural festival and celebrates its 15th edition Aug. 1 to 5.
But Montreal is not alone: At press time, NYC’s 2007 Pride parade was also cancelled because New York won’t grant a parade permit for June 23 instead of June 24.
Meanwhile, in Montreal, a meeting to save the 2008 parade is tentatively scheduled for the end of June. Says Tricot, "It’s upsetting. But sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward."