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Montreal Pride parade's return is 'critical' in 2023


The Montreal Pride Festival will return for its 17th edition from Aug. 3 to 15, with over 150 artists performing at 15 free shows—as well as the traditional parade that was cancelled at the last minute in 2022.

Organizers unveiled the festival programming on Thursday, promising pride events across the city to celebrate the LGBTQ2S+ community. It's set to kick off on August 3 with an opening ceremony at Jardins Gamelin featuring Indigenous artists, followed by a free dance party. That night a comedy show showcasing queer comedians will take place at the National in the Village.

Disappointment surrounding last year's parade, which was called off five hours before it was set to start, "was a wake-up call for everyone," said Simon Gamache, executive director of Montreal Pride.

Gamache says it was "communication issues between a couple folks" that triggered last year's debacle, leading to a city-appointed investigation and significant re-structuring within the organization.

Gamache previously said the plug had to be pulled after nearly 100 security volunteers were missing on the day of the parade.

To ensure that doesn't happen again, he says the organization will hire security personnel instead of relying on volunteers. 

In a statement, the city said it's confident the parade will go smoothly this year, noting that an external event planning company, Dotti&Cie, is coordinating the event.

"Fierté Montréal is currently working to implement the recommendations of the independent report in terms of governance, bylaws and strategic planning," the statement reads. "The city will work with this team to ensure the success of this and all future pride parades."


With over 200,000 people attending Pride last year, expectations for this year to go smoothly are high, says trans activist Celeste Trianon.

"I think most people, myself included, have very high hopes for this year. If these hopes are not accomplished, we'll be very disappointed," she said.

"Here in Quebec, even drag shows and other community events are being attacked. This year is going to be more critical than ever before."

Popular Montreal drag queen Barbada, whose storytelling events have sparked protests, is scheduled to perform at the Pride Party for two consecutive nights at the Montreal Casino starting Aug. 4.

Entertainment at the festival's main site, the Olympic Park's Esplanade, get underway August 9, featuring Édith Butler, Lumière, Coco Béliveau, Klô Pelgag, Joe Bocan among the artists.

You can find more details about programming on Montreal Pride's website.

-With files from CTV News Montreal's Kelly Greig Top Stories

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