Montreal Pride parade organizer Simon Gamache admits they messed up by canceling the event at the last minute on Sunday.
Gamache said he was told at 8 a.m. that they did not have the resources to stage the flagship Pride week event that draws thousands to downtown Montreal.
“It was totally on our part that the mistake happened,” Gamache told CTV News Channel on Sunday. “We didn’t request all the resources we needed for today.”
The biggest problem, he said, was that they “didn’t plan appropriately to present the parade.”
To organize a proper parade, the organizers needed about 200 volunteers, and they were short about 80, or a third of what they needed.
Disappointment, surprise and confusion engulfed Montreal after the parade was canceled hours before its start.
Event organizers posted a tweet just after 9 a.m. stating that due to “lack of sufficient staff to provide security along the route”, the parade was cancelled.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said at a press conference that she was frustrated and disappointed.
“I found out it was canceled like everyone else,” she said. “I don’t understand that within five minutes it’s canceled. I don’t understand how we got to this situation. I’m not happy. I’m disappointed.”
Plante has participated in Pride parades and planned to join the event on Sunday.
“If we had known there was a staff shortage, or even anything, we would have put the energy into it,” Plante said.
Celeste Trianon organized the Montreal Trans March on Saturday and is “beyond disappointed” that the flagship Montreal Pride event was canceled without notice.
“I didn’t expect the trans march to become the only Pride march in the Montreal area,” Trianon said. “It was completely opaque on their end. If they had made a public call for volunteers, it might have worked better.”
Gamache said organizers had struggled all week to find volunteers and staff to hold events.
“From one hour to the next we had to find people,” he said.
Trianon said Saturday’s march saw a record number of people take part in the event, with many more expected for Sunday’s parade.
Pride Montreal added in the tweet that the festivities will continue at Olympic Park on Sunday at 2 p.m., an hour after the parade was scheduled to start.
Pop-up parties have sprung up along Ste. Catherine St. for those who still want to celebrate.
Gamache said they hope to make an announcement this week to set something up very quickly.
“It’s the worst thing that can happen,” he said. “Cancelling shows is one thing, canceling the parade is the worst thing.”
The 2.9 kilometer parade along boul. Rene-Levesque. in downtown Montreal was going to be the first full parade since 2019.
Last year, a small celebration took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The celebration of LGBTQ2S+ life and culture is one of the most popular in North America and typically attracts thousands of attendees, celebrities and politicians.
The City of Montreal installed what was to be its parade float in Dorchester Square with a DJ, entertaining the disappointed people who came for the parade.