History West Side Pride

In April of 2023, a small group of people here in Stittsville felt that an LGBTQ2S visibility and safe space to express ourselves and our lives in the west end of Ottawa was missing. Travelling downtown in August in the heat for the big Pride event, struggling with parking issues and large crowds of people proved difficult for many and so, West Side Pride was started.

After gaining support from City Councillor Gower as well as many community groups and a few businesses in the area, we booked a local park and started drawing on 20 years of previous experience working with the boards of both Capital Pride and Halifax Pride as well as people from the high tech, artistic and political communities to put together a small afternoon festival at Alexander Groves Park.

We had three months to achieve our goal and the results were very encouraging with over 200 attendees, 40 Info Fair booths, a full afternoon of performers who worked only for tips and a very popular children's area called Kids Can that was sponsored by a local Drug store. We had 12 extra volunteers sign up - most of whom were working on their High School volunteer hours and the Stittsville Village Association supplied all our tables, chairs and water for the volunteers.

Media coverage was strong - mostly online, political support was evident in our speakers Glen Gower and Ariel Troster from City Council, MPP Joel Harden and OCDSB Dr Nili Kaplan-Myrth as well as a letter from the Prime Minister.

As we drew closer to the event date, we had a large online presence through Twitter, FB and Instagram and we did experience a small amount of backlash online from a few individual members of the extreme-right, but not as much as we expected. We met with the Ottawa Police who were fully on board to ensure our safety and they were also thrilled to be invited to participate in our afternoon's Community Info Fair.

In December 2023, West Side Pride incorporated and are now preparing for this year's festival on Saturday July 27th and having a larger presence in the community throughout the year through social events and learning opportunities.