Thunder Pride Association to accelerate growth of LGBTQ2S tourism in Northwestern Ontario
Local organization to expand festivals and experiences to maximize opportunities for municipalities, businesses and Indigenous communities with support from the Government of Canada
Canada is built around shared values of diversity, equity, optimism and personal security. These values are especially well aligned with the LGBTQ2S community, for whom safety and acceptance still rank high when choosing a travel destination. As a progressive country, Canada has a competitive advantage. With its approximately 140 Pride events, Canadian cities are routinely recognized worldwide as top LGBTQ2S destinations.
Supporting diversity and inclusiveness in Northwestern Ontario
The Thunder Pride Association (TPA) is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that supports the local LGBTQ2S community and its members to achieve their full potential. TPA’s mandate is to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Thunder Bay's LGBTQ2S community; provide support, encouragement and education; work with community groups, academic and other organizations to develop programming, initiatives and events dedicated to reducing homophobia; and build a unique arts and cultural celebration for the City of Thunder Bay, its residents and the surrounding region.
The Thunder Pride Association is run by an 11-member volunteer board.
Capitalizing on tourism and economic opportunities
TPA’s PRIDE festival helps to attract approximately 10,000 participants to the region each year. The association plans to double the duration of this festival to 20 days in 2020. The extension is expected to help boost local tourism and the economic benefits for local businesses. TPA will also host the Fierté Canada Pride (FCP) National Conference in 2021, which is expected to attract more than 250 delegates representing 125 associations from across Canada.
During a visit Thunder Bay’s The Chanterelle on Park, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North, and Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River, announced $123,000 in FedNor funding to enable the Thunder Pride Association to carry out its plans. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.
“Through the Canadian Experiences Fund, our government is investing in the development of our tourism sector and our vibrant communities. Thanks to Government of Canada support for projects like this one, Canadians and visitors to Canada will be able to fully experience our diversity, culture, heritage and inclusive tourism industry.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, and Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor
“With the support of this funding, Thunder Pride Association will be able to increase their efforts to attract more visitors for longer stays. When our region is seen as diverse and welcoming, interest in Northwestern Ontario increases, creating more tourism and associated economic benefits.”
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North
“The Thunder Pride Association is helping the City of Thunder Bay to capitalize on the economic potential generated by overnight visits from national and international tourists from within the LGBTQ2S community. This represents millions of visitors with their sights on Canada, which is an amazing opportunity to grow our region’s inclusive tourism industry.”
- Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River
“Today’s announcement is a game changer for the Thunder Pride Association. This exciting project will help create tourism opportunities by attracting national events to Thunder Bay and extending our PRIDE festival to
20 days, which allows more people to visit our community, extend their stay and join the celebrations.”
- Jason Veltri, Chair, Thunder Pride Association
- Tourism represents more than 2% of Canada’s gross domestic product.
- Tourism supports nearly 740,000 direct jobs in Canada.
- Canada’s tourism strategy, Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, highlights the importance of Canada’s tourism sector as an economic driver in communities across the country.
- Regional development agencies are one of Canada’s four flagship platforms supporting innovation, along with the Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Strategic Innovation Fund and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service