Skip to content

'It takes a village': Barrie Pride Festival takes over downtown

'It makes me feel like I am not alone in this journey,' attendee says of experience at 10th annual festival

All of the colours of the rainbow were on display downtown on Saturday for the 10th annual Barrie Pride Festival and parade.

The event, which saw hundreds of visitors, boasted a variety of vendors as well as the popular parade, which started at the Barrie Public Library at 2:30 p.m. before making its way down Mulcaster Street, along Lakeshore Drive and back up Bayfield Street.

Julia Peyton walked in the parade with Empower Simcoe and was enjoying all the festival had to offer, telling BarrieToday she wanted to show her support to the 2SLGBTQ+ community and let them know they are not alone.

“Everyone here has been really nice and supportive. The energy is amazing,” said Peyton.

Innisfil resident Bobbi Cumming attended with her husband and said it was important for them to show up, as one of their children is part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

“We wanted to come out to support them. It’s nice to see people showing their spirit and their pride in themselves,” she said, adding events like this help promote a wider education and acceptance of the community.

Thirteen-year-old Barrie resident Ophelia Gray simply enjoys the sense of community Pride events provide.

“I enjoy spending time with my friends and meeting other people in the community. It’s just a lot of fun,” said Gray, who attended the Barrie festival for the first time Saturday. “It’s always good to show the community that you acknowledge them and you care about them.”

River Hammond, 13, said she wanted to show her support to her non-binary twin, and to “just to accept” herself as well.

“I just want to express myself in the community more. It’s hard sometimes in other places being mis-gendered or dead-named. I find this is a safe place,” added Ink, who told BarrieToday they came out about a year ago.

“I always felt I wasn’t really female, so I am glad that I am figured out now. It’s a bit weird. It kind of felt like I was reading a book in a different language that I faintly know, and I am just trying to use Google Translate. I am feeling a lot more clear and happy about myself.”

Events like Saturday’s go a long way in helping people feel accepted, said Ink.

“It makes me feel like I am not alone in this journey and that everyone can share their journey with us, too,” they said.

Donning “Proud Mom” and “Proud Dad” T-shirts, Leeanne and Glen Tuplin attended to support their son, who is gay.

“We have a community over in the east end and they have always been very supportive. It takes a village to raise a child and we are very fortunate that our child was raised in our east-end Barrie village. He is strong, independent and very proud,” Leeanne said, adding her son and his partner were marching in the parade.

Hannah Little considers herself to be an ally to the 2SLGBTQ+ community. She said it was important to show her respect and support for everyone.

“Just because discrimination isn’t happening directly to us, it’s important we stand up for what is right, and discrimination is not right,” she said.