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Nanaimo celebrates Pride parade and festival with colour and flair

Hundreds of community members lined downtown streets and flooded Maffeo Sutton Park Sunday, June 9

Much of Nanaimo's downtown was filled with queer joy today, as the peak of the city's Pride celebrations got under way. 

At approximately 11 a.m., hundreds of spectators had already lined the streets to watch the annual Pride parade, as organized by the Nanaimo Pride Society, march by and make its way to Maffeo Sutton Park where the festival kicked off at noon. 

On social media, posted Saturday, June 8, the Pride society announced the grand marshal for this year's festival was the newly formed Ladysmith Pride Society.

"We are incredibly proud to see our neighbours in Ladysmith stepping up and shining so brightly in their first year," noted the post. "Their hard work and passion were evident in their very first event ... and a testament to their community's support ... and determination to create a safe and successful community celebration."

By the time the Pride parade reached the festival, the park was flush with hundreds of spectators and awash with Pride flags of nearly every sexual orientation and gender identity. The festival included 60 vendors, activities, nine food trucks and a sensory-friendly space, as well as drag and dance performances, musical acts and a DJ.

Lauren Semple, Nanaimo Pride Society president, took the microphone at the Lions Pavilion and said the society had been celebrating since the flag raising on June 4, and that it filled her heart to see the park and the whole preceding week filled with queer joy. This year was the first time ever the Pride proclamation event outside city hall saw both the progress Pride flag and the trans flag raised together. 

"Love is loud and love is inclusive," Semple said. "This week has been absolutely incredible. You are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to standing tall, standing proud, taking up space, and being representative of who you are and celebrating who you are. Nanaimo shows up like none other."

Pride events in Nanaimo will continue throughout the month. More information on events in the city can be found online at the Pride society's Pride Guide at

Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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