Thunder Bay to host national conference for Pride organizers

Thunder Bay, Ont., will be the first non-major city in Canada to host the annual meeting of Canada’s Pride organizations.

Fierté Canada Pride will hold its national conference and annual general meeting in the city in 2021.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Jason Veltri, the chair of Thunder Pride, when describing the reaction of delegates at this year’s conference in Ottawa to the selection of Thunder Bay. “People want to come here,” 

Pride organizers from across the country are excited to visit a community like Thunder Bay, where LGBT organizing is much more grassroots than in the big cities, he said.

The event is expected to draw up to 200 people to the new, not-yet-opened hotel on the waterfront.   

One priority for the local organizers, Veltri said, is making sure that the Indigenous community and other marginalized groups are at the forefront of the conference.

“I’m making an open call to whoever wants to be part of this conference in the planning, in the execution and during. Your voices will be heard, and you have a seat around my table,” he said.

“As we plan this conference, I want community members around the table of the planning committee that are [members of] the transgender community, the Two Spirit community, people of colour, gay, lesbian.  We all need to be around the table, because without having those voices, we won’t be able to effectively plan for the conference.”  

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