The annual Portage Pride Parade enjoyed near perfect weather yesterday for the fourth edition of the event.

It’s estimated 415 people participated. One was Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris, who says it shows leadership.

Mayor Irvine Ferris speaking before the parade“We recognize becoming a more inclusive, welcoming community is important,” he says, “And important for everybody, absolutely everybody. This is progress for our city. I’m very, very proud of what’s happening today, and so proud of our citizens, and a lot of the visitors that came out to see us today.”

For Portage Pride Lead Coordinator William Garrioch, the support’s incredible.

“I love coming back and putting this on with my Portage Pride family,” he says, “It’s incredible to see the support that

William Garriochactually exists here in Portage, and that people come out on such a beautiful day like today, and march with us in solidarity.”

Colleen Peterson’s with the University of Manitoba’s U-M Queer, who plan Pride events at the campus. She explains why they were here.

Megan Belyea and Colleen Peterson

“We are meant to be a part of the entire University of Manitoba community,” she says, “So it’s important that we reach out to rural communities as well. Especially because a lot of people in rural communities don’t have access to the same resources as people in the city do, and are facing unique situations and oppression.”

Brett FinneyDr. Brett Finney was in parade, and feels it’s important as a member of the community to show we’re inclusive.

“To everybody that needs safe spaces to be able to express themselves, and their individuality,” he says, “And I want to set an example to our kids, too, to be inclusive and accepting, and that’s why we’re here today.”

Josh Wright’s the co-organizer and co-founder of Portage Pride. He says the level of community support’s significant.

“Since we began in 2016, our attendance has been high every year,” he says, “So that shows there is support, not just

Josh Wright a one-time thing, but a long-term realization of compassion, love, and diversity in Portage la Prairie. And that speaks volumes about the people who came out today.”

Trinity United Church’s Reverend Beth Kerr’s reason for taking part is simple.

“We believe that God loves everyone,” she says, “That God’s love is big and wide, and deep, and so it’s very

Beth Kerrimportant to say that everyone is included. And, exactly as you are. God isn’t trying to change you, God loves you just as you are.”

Barry Rudd and his dog Amos were there. Rudd feels there’s a lot of intolerance, and it’s important to stand together.

Barry Rudd and Amos“In my career, I saw many folks struggling,” he says, “And much of it had to do with people not being able to express who they were, and to be able to express themselves as they were, and as God made them. So those are some of the reasons I think it’s important to be here.”

Jame Kostuchuk was with the Manitoba Teachers’ Society contingent and is impressed by the response by so many.

“I have to say that Portage la Prairie has been wonderful, in many ways,” he says, “And that’s not to take away – we all know that many of the people that were

James Kostuchukmarching here today have had difficult circumstances in their lives. But as a community, I think we’re really coming together to do something we can all be proud of." 

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says he came to show support. 

Dugald Lamont"There are LGBTQ people everywhere across Manitoba," he says, "It's really important to show that they're accepted and that they're a part of the community, and we have to recognize them as equals because they are."