The Montreal Pride Festival will hold its 15th edition from Aug. 1 to 7 with nine free large-scale shows, 150 artists, a hundred community activities with more than 200 organizations – as well as the traditional parade to mark the last day of festivities.

Organizers held the official launch of its programming Tuesday, saying they want it to be 'exuberant' and 'full of life', after a year as a virtual event and another in hybrid formula. The return of Pride Montreal is essential for the LGBTQ+ communities, according to its executive director, Simon Gamache.

“In the last few years, it hasn't been easy for anyone, but even more difficult for marginalized communities, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. So, to come together, to celebrate, to feel good, to feel safe, it's fundamental," said Gamache.


During the seven days of festivities, several great free shows will be presented on the Esplanade at the Olympic Park, the new main site of Pride Montreal.

The opening night will feature singer Diane Dufresne, Montreal DJ Pierre Kwenders, Les Femmes au tambour de Wendake and the Montreal Kiki Ballroom on Aug. 3.

The following day, the event promises the largest free drag show in the country hosted by Rita Baga, proclaimed Montreal's queen of drag. Nearly 20 artists from Canada, the United States, France and the United Kingdom, most of whom have participated in RuPaul's Drag Race and Queen of the Universe, will be on stage.

Many Quebec artists such as Côeur de Pirate, Corneille, Pasty Gallant, Alaclair Ensemble, Ariane Moffat and Sarahmée will also take part in one of the nine full-scale shows.

The Pride Parade to celebrate the progress of LGBTQ+ rights will take place on René-Lévesque Boulevard on Sunday, Aug. 7, with only hybrid, electric or biofuel vehicles allowed. A minute of silence will be observed at 2:30 pm.

The festival will close with performances by two DJs and Brazilian singer-songwriter and drag queen Pabllo Vittar.


In addition to the festivities, Pride Montreal is committed throughout the event to ten demands established by the Quebec LGBT Council. These include adequate financial support for 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations, free gender affirming surgery and care, decriminalization of sex work, free HIV/AIDS care, and government funding for 'positive, empowering and inclusive' sex education.

“We are amplifying the demands of the community sector. We know that we have more visibility than all the community organizations put together. So we have to use that as a platform," Gamache said.

Just before the festival begins, Montreal will host the 24th International AIDS Conference from July 29 to Aug. 2. As part of this event, Pride Montréal will present 'Capture,’ a creation by Dave St-Pierre and a collective of artists.

It is a contemporary dance work that looks at the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Performances will be held at Le Monastère cabaret from July 27 to Aug. 6.


This story was written with the financial assistance of Meta Fellowships and The Canadian Press for news. This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 26, 2022