Maggie Smith and her mother Christy step across Sidney’s new rainbow crosswalk at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at Beacon Park. They are followed by Coun. Barbara Fallot, Coun. Cam McLennan, Sidney Town Crier Kenny Podmore, and Mayor Steve Price. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Sidney unveils its first rainbow crosswalk

Mom challenges police departments across Vancouver Island to adopt the Safe Place program

Sidney’s new rainbow crosswalk at Beacon Park — inspired by a two-year-old — made its official debut Thursday morning.

At the ribbon cutting, Christy Smith said she felt grateful and wanted to thank Sidney mayor and council, municipal staff for painting the crosswalk, and Sidney/North Saanich RCMP for the Safer Place Program. She challenged other police departments across Vancouver Island to adopt the Safe Place program for their communities. Her two-year old daughter Maggie drew the rainbow picture that inspired the crosswalk.

The crowd celebrated with cupcakes (little Maggie’s favourite: chocolate) and flew the rainbow and transgender pride flags.

RELATED: Rainbow crosswalk, safer places for LGBTQ community

Sidney Mayor Steve Price had Maggie’s original rainbow drawing framed, and during the event presented it back to Maggie as a keepsake.

“This crosswalk is our commitment to creating a community that is safe and inclusive for all people,” cried Kenny Podmore, the Sidney Town Crier.

RELATED: Crews begin rainbow crosswalk painting in Sidney

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP Const. Meighan de Pass said she saw a sticker with the Safe Place program while in her hometown of Chilliwack, and thought it was a good idea. Christy Smith contacted her about it a short time later, and said reaction was “overwhelmingly positive.”

“Even I’ve been surprised at the level of warmth, and how excited people are to participate in this program,” said de Pass.

The program is aimed at businesses, organizations and schools, rather than private residences, and is meant to provide a safe place for LGBTQ people if they are the victims of a crime. Groups are vetted by the RCMP and given stickers to place on windows. Businesses, organizations or schools with the sticker will then pledge to provide a place for LGBTQ people to take shelter and call 911. Training is also available for program participants.

She said there are about 10 businesses with stickers up, and those interested in joining should contact her at the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP detachment.

“Even if you’re not in distress but still a member of the [LGBTQ] community, that sticker is there to tell that person that this is a community that embraces diversity and is welcoming to everybody,” said de Pass.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

West Coast company brings virtual whale watching experience to youth with disabilities

About 40 Easter Seals BC/Yukon children, youth and adults with disabilities were… Continue reading

Saanich woman completes 10 marathons, raises double her initial goal amount

Over $20,000 raised for Victoria Hospitals Foundation

Meet Chewy, Ladysmith’s Turf Kitty

Independent feline has carved out his own special territory in town’s sports field

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Protesters in Nanaimo call for greater protection of old-growth forests

Extinction Rebellion organized rally at Maffeo Sutton Park on Saturday afternoon

Protesters in Nanaimo call for greater protection of old-growth forests

Extinction Rebellion organized rally at Maffeo Sutton Park on Saturday afternoon

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Oyster River department battles Black Creek house fire

UPDATED: House experiences extensive damage, no one inside at the time

Vancouver Island RCMP warn of ongoing frauds

Here are some of the more common scams to be aware of

North Island College ready for a virtual fall semester

“It’s a really good time to be a student.”

Turf replacement installed at Oak Bay High

New Astroturf will be ready for school, sports still cancelled

Poetry contest started for Vancouver Island poets

“We’re such a unique group,” says founder on why she wanted to start the collective

Most Read