From Regina to Saskatoon and beyond, there’s no party like Pride

Pride | Stephen Whitworth

June has a lot going for it. It’s usually the year’s greenest month, with mostly great weather sandwiched between chilly May mornings and sunbaked, oppressive July afternoons. Also, there’s ducklings and goslings — the absolute best and arguably only tolerable kind of goose — all over the place.

There’s also long days and late sunsets, outdoor ice cream, friends’ weddings, backyard barbecues, casual bike rides, leisurely strolls and afternoons in city parks definitely not drinking beer in travel mugs.

But the BEST part of June is Pride—and especially the annual Pride parades in Saskatoon, Regina and other Saskatchewan cities.

“It’s super important to people of all gender and sexual orientations,” says Queen City Pride’s Riviera Bonneau. “It’s important that they feel safe and welcome in their hometown, right?

“We want to make sure that those people know that they have a space and that this is a safe space for them,” she says.

Bonneau is a Queen City Pride board member and one of the organizer’s of this year’s Pride parade in Regina, which promises to be the city’s biggest ever.

“I mean that’s the goal, to make it bigger and better every year,” she says. “And this year is no different. It’s going to be great.”

Of course, this year’s Pride festival is happening while tension simmers over Saskatchewan’s anti-2SLGBTQIA+ pronoun law, brought in by the conservative Saskatchewan Party government, likely as a vote-getting scheme under the guise of protecting parent’s rights (see feature). In response, Queen City Pride became the first Pride organization to ban Sask. Party MLAs from representing the government at Pride events. It was followed by Prince Albert Pride, Battlefords Area Pride and more recently Saskatoon Pride.

Queen City Pride also boycotted the annual Pride flag raising at the Saskatchewan legislature.

“That would normally have taken place on June 1 and, um, we decided that wasn’t… they are not our allies, we’re not going to do that this year. We can’t let them just façade that they’re allies when they hurt us,” says Bonneau.

“I understand they just posted something on Facebook to declare Pride month instead. It wasn’t perceived well, just saying [laughs].”

“One of the most popular Pride tags is ‘love is love’, says Bonneau. “We want to love everyone, and show everyone that they ARE loved. We’re not attempting to divide anyone. We don’t even exclude straight people.

“Anyone can be part of anything we do as long as you aren’t hateful and hurting members of our community,” she says. “They’ve been through enough.”

Getting back to the Pride’s fun and festive aspect, there are a ton of events this year. Regina and Saskatoon have their parades, of course — on June 15 and 22, respectively. Both cities also have pride markets and a pile of events. Saskatoon has the Pride Golf Classic (Saturday, June 8), and the Pride Family Picnic and Wigged Out All Ages Drag Show (both June 9).

There’s also Fabulous Feathers: Pride Birding!, which looks to “celebrate Pride in nature”. That’s on Tuesday, June 11.

Regina, meanwhile, has an absolute typhoon of goings-on. Highlights start with the epic Pride After Dark: A Burlesque Spectacular event on Saturday, June 15. Then there’s The Queen City Pride Prom tonight at Lakewood United Church; and the annual White Party at Q Nightclub on Friday, June 14.

Many more events can be found on our calendar, here.

“We try to make sure we have lots of different TYPES of entertainment, lots of different types of artists, lots of different activities,” says Bonneau. “We try to make all of those events safe. Especially at our park events and everything, we make sure that there’s security and there’s first aid, and all of those things. Because a lot of the time you can’t have fun if you don’t feel safe.

“That’s part of it, but mostly just trying to do a variety of things so that everyone can have something to have fun at,” Bonneau says.

But the highlight of any Pride festival? Always gonna be the parade.

“I love it so much,” says Bonneau. “Like I said, it gets bigger every single year and while the planning of it is very stressful, just walking down our staging street — unfortunately I don’t actually get to watch the parade, but I get to see everybody as they come in to start getting ready, right? — and just the energy of everyone being so excited to march in the parade. And everyone is decked-out in rainbows and chatting with each other, everyone they’re near, getting ready. There’s music blaring.

“It is SO MUCH FUN to walk down that street and just see everyone so happy and colourful,” she says. “It’s just amazing. There is so like a rush to it. It’s my favourite part.”

Happy Pride!