Barrie Pride aiming to increase accessibility to the community

Members from Barrie Pride gathered for a Rainbow Walk in Sunnidale Park on Sun. June 26, 2022 (Amanda Hicks/CTV News Barrie)

While small in numbers Sunday, a group from Barrie's Pride community gathered to send the message to others that they are not alone.

As Pride month wraps up in Simcoe County, members from Barrie Pride gathered in Sunnidale Park Saturday, reflecting on what officials called a successful few weeks of celebrations. However, while turnout was high this year at the Pride Parade, Sunday's gathering was meant to provide a more low-key option for people who large crowds may deter but still want to participate.

"I want to be visible for everybody who maybe came out during the pandemic or maybe who didn't feel comfortable before, because as the years go on, we are becoming more and more visible, and we're not going just to stop that," said Brodi Mears, the executive director of Barrie Pride. "We want a community. We want people to know that it's safe here."

Mears has said that turnout for this year's Pride Parade, held earlier this month, was among the best in its nearly 10 years.

While Pride month is coming to an end, events like Sunday's Rainbow Walks will become a monthly tradition, Mears said, in an effort to increase accessibility to the group.

"Obviously, with COVID still being a very real concern for a lot of people, I didn't just want events where you had to be inside where there weren't necessarily masks available," said Mears. "Also, with this beautiful weather and green space that we have here in Barrie, it just seems like a waste almost not to come out to explore where we can, and all of us try to get together in as many different scenarios as we can."

The group will aim to hold these walks on the fourth Sunday of every month.