St. John’s Pride parade cancelled amid heat warnings

Two men hold hands as they walk down Duckworth Street in the pride parade. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

Downtown St. John’s was supposed to be buzzing with thousands of people taking part in a celebration of the LGBTQ community on Sunday. Instead, the streets will be quiet … and hot.

Organizers with St. John’s Pride made the decision to postpone their annual parade on Saturday afternoon, 24 hours before it was set to begin.

“It’s becoming a very dangerous point, and with all things considered … it just doesn’t seem like it would be safe to do that,” said parade organizer Gorvin Greening, noting the parade is attended by people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. “We didn’t want to make our vulnerable populations even more vulnerable.”

The city is expecting sweltering heat and humidity, with temperatures expected to touch 28 degrees by mid afternoon, and a humidex around 38 degrees.

St. John’s Pride was expecting 3,000 people walking in the parade, and at least as many watching. The route would see the procession move through downtown St. John’s, where temperatures can be amplified by asphalt and the close proximity of the crowd.

Gorvin Greening is the co-chair of St. John’s Pride, and is the acting parade coordinator. (Gorvin Greening/Twitter)

Greening said the Pride committee will meet with city officials on Monday to set a new date, likely in August, but it’s not as easy as just looking at the calendar and picking a new day.

“It’s going to be quite an undertaking, to be perfectly honest,” he said. “I mean, we have our road closure crews, our first aid, our volunteers. We also have about 120 groups who now have to amend their schedules as well.”

3rd setback for St. John’s parade

The decision came just hours after organizers of the Tely 10 road race also decided to postpone their event set for Sunday morning due to heat.

Greening said that cancellation was a wake-up call, since the race was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. — during the cooler part of the day — and the parade was set to begin during the peak temperatures at 2 p.m.

This was supposed to be a grand return for St. John’s Pride, after the parade was cancelled two years in a row due to the pandemic. Despite a third setback in a row, Greening hopes the fourth time will be the charm.

“We’re very fortunate that the LGBTQ2S+ community is very supportive. They’re very all-in. I have no doubt that we’ll still have the same energy when we reschedule.”

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