Banff – Locals and visitors can celebrate diversity in Canada’s most iconic mountain town.
From Sept. 30 to Oct. 10, the annual Banff Pride will have various events throughout the 11 days celebrating the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
“Banff Pride has grown into something that can be enjoyed and appreciated by everybody, regardless of age, whether they're part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community or our allies, whether they live in Banff, or are visitors to Banff or even just coming in just for pride," said Aurora Borin, local musician and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion specialist based in the Bow Valley.
The 2022 Banff Pride festival serves up a lineup of live performances, including a country concert at Warner Stables, a speaker series and drag shows at the Banff Gondola, all-Indigenous performers' music, an all ages program, and a healthy dose of outdoor adventure, including hikes and yoga classes.
"There is going to be a speaker series in the lodge that I'm hosting, coming and speaking and having sit down conversations that will be not just educational but hopefully authentic, warm and hearing things you might not hear elsewhere," Borin said.
"These insightful conversations are for local folks, or anybody that wants to come but centring on local folks and centring voices that haven't traditionally been heard, and conversations that haven't traditionally been had.”
The rainbows people see in the local storefronts around Banff, plus the dynamic calendar of events during Banff Pride, demonstrate the community’s goal to welcome people of all backgrounds and identities from around the world.
"Banff is such a tourist destination. … I can see all the natural beauty and engage with the pride activities," Borin said, "I don't think that Calgary, Canmore, or a lot of other places have that. Being a prime destination, I think is a pretty unique circumstance."
Pride events offer locals and visitors a chance to celebrate the diversity and inclusion in Banff.
"Pride is the opposite of shame. Society tells us that we should feel that and not be ourselves, that we should not walk freely on the street, that we should not love who we love, and that we should not be who we are," Borin said.
"Pride says we are who we are. Celebration with folks who are like us and want to support us is about pride in all humans being who they are and the beautiful diversity that humans are that we can then carry forward for the rest of the year when that other messaging is coming at us every day."
Banff Pride has been celebrated since 2014. In 2021 it was incorporated as a non-profit society. Local restaurants and businesses host parties and events throughout the 11 days, all in the name of 2SLGBTQ+ and equality for all. A portion of each drink and dessert sales are donated to local 2SLGBTQ+ organizations.
Borin said they all participate because of a meaningful, authentic commitment to the pride movement and wanting to be part of it.
With 11 jam-packed days of entertainment, acceptance, unity and friendship, Banff Pride will be a vibrant celebration.
"When you're there, look around. Why is this happening? Why this conversation? What is it revealing? What is the difference? It'll be more than there's just rainbow flags up now. There will be different people doing different things, celebrating in different ways; you'll see more diversity. It's about all people celebrating all people."
For more information on tickets and events, visit www.banffpride.ca.