FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Members of the Fort St. John Pride Committee were in awe this afternoon, after the city’s first-ever Pride Walk drew a much bigger crowd than anticipated.
Estimates of between 200 and 300 marchers were decked out with signs, flags, pins, and facepaint in all colours of the rainbow for the march, which began at City Hall at noon, travelled along 100th Street before ending at Centennial Park shortly before 12:30 PM. All members of Fort St. John city council were in attendance, with the exception of councillors Trevor Bolin and Gord Klassen, who would have attended were it not for them having prior commitments, according to Mayor Lori Ackerman. Members from the BCGEU and CUPE, who were sponsors of the event, were there along with a delegation from RBC that brought a 60-foot rainbow flag. The North Peace Secondary School’s Queer Straight Alliance was also out in full force.
Pride Committee member Tracy Nichols says that organisers for the march were blown away at the number of people who came out in support of the event, along with the number of motorists on 100th St. honking their horns in support. Nichols, who moved to Fort St. John a year ago said that organisers were slightly apprehensive about the march after the shooting that occurred in Orlando two weeks ago, as well as after seeing some comments on social media. She added “That just goes to show, that’s exactly why we need to be here. To show that there is a great community here where you can thrive, and you can be loved, and you can be you.”
Fellow Pride Committee member Kerry France says that the committee plans to formally register as a the North Peace Pride Society, after which they will begin planning for more events, and that organisers hope to expand next year’s event.