The event features a Community Day, the annual Pride Parade and more fun in the Village.
Over half-a-million revellers are expected to attend Montréal Pride, the largest LGBTQ gathering in the Francophone world, from August 8 to 14. Participants will include Justin Trudeau, who will become the first-ever Canadian Prime Minister to march in a Pride parade in Montréal.Over 125 events will be held during the week-long festival, including Montréal Pride’s three flagship events: Community Day on August 13, along Sainte-Catherine Street East in the Village; the ever-popular Pride Parade on August 14 at 1 pm; and the iconic Mega T-Dance at Place Émilie-Gamelin on August 14 beginning at 1 pm.
Here’s a guide to making the most of Pride in Montréal:
Remember why we are here
Pride is about the community coming together, celebrating the social and legal advances that have been made and galvanizing our commitment to continue the fight for LGBT human rights. The first-ever Pride march was held in New York in 1970 to commemorate the first anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots of 1969. This year, Pride parades are also honouring the victims of the mass-shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Do not forget Montréal Pride’s annual powerful Moment of Silence during this year’s parade will begin at 2:30 pm to honour LGBTQ pioneers and those we have lost to violence and AIDS.
Six nights of free outdoor shows
Highlights include Montréal Pride’s first-ever stand-up comedy show (in French) with headliner André Sauvé on August 10; the Drag Superstars concert featuring the best and brightest alumni of RuPaul’s Drag Race, co-hosted by sensational New York drag queen and Season 6 winner, Bianca Del Rio, alongside Montréal drag legend Mado Lamotte on August 11; Belgian pop superstar Lara Fabian will headline The Diva Den concert featuring a who’s who of Montréal’s top female soul singers – including Michelle Sweeney, Sandy Duperval, Stéphane Moraille and Lulu Hughes – on August 12; and Montréal drag legend Michel Dorion hosts her annual Illusion drag extravaganza showcasing 15 local drag stars on August 13. All free outdoor shows are presented at Place Émilie-Gamelin.
Pride is about more than just parties
This year’s festival features cultural activities like film screenings, museum exhibitions and a photo expo looking back at the first decade of Montréal Pride.
Montréal Pride is children-friendly
Got kids? Bring them to Kids Day on Thursday, August 11. Activities for children aged 3 to 12. Free snacks and refreshments also provided. And the parade on Sunday, August 14, is a crowd-pleaser for all ages. Lots of families march with community groups in the Pride parade.
Charge your smart phone
A fully charged phone is essential to keep in contact with friends, partners or significant others – and to share your magic moments! Plus, the Village was the first commercial sector of Montréal to offer free Wi-Fi access over an area of more than 1.5 km. Don’t forget to tag your tweets and photos with #MTLmoments and #fiertemtl.
Carry some spending money
It’s always a good idea to have cash on hand to buy a cool beverage, a snack or a souvenir at Place Emilie-Gamelin. If you need a little extra, the TD Bank, Montréal Pride’s presenting sponsor also sets up a mobile ATM at the entrance to the park. There are also five banks with ATMs in the Village.
Pick a good spot to watch the parade
The August 14 parade runs east along René-Lévesque Boulevard from Guy to Sanguinet streets. The crowds lining the 2.4 kilometre parade route are thinner at the beginning of the parade and get extremely crowded near the end. Pick a good spot – such as around Bleury Street where spectators can watch from the grassy hill at the SNC Lavalin Park – and go early. For the fourth consecutive year, creative direction for the Pride Parade is inspired by the rainbow flag. This year’s colour is green, to represent the environment and the rich, diverse nature of LGBTQ individuals. This year’s theme is “Our Flag, Our Nature.”
Other parade tips
Wear comfortable shoes because you will be standing on concrete for a long time. Bring water, sunblock, sunglasses and hats. Parking in downtown Montréal – especially during the parade – is tough. Use public transportation.
Make plans to party somewhere post-parade
After several hours at the parade and post-parade Mega T-Dance at Place Émilie-Gamelin, you will probably be in the mood to keep the party going. Click here for official and associated Montréal Pride events.
Plan to come back in 2017 for Canada Pride
Montréal Pride has much to celebrate on their 10th anniversary this year, and organizers are already planning for 2017 when Montréal Pride will host the inaugural 10-day Canada Pride – modelled on EuroPride and WorldPride – from August 11 to 20, 2017, as Montréal celebrates its 375th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, and Canada marks 150 years of Confederation. Start planning your trip now!
The 2016 edition of Montréal Pride runs August 8 to 14. Visit www.fierteMontréalpride.com.