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City unveils first Pride Crosswalk as commitment to inclusivity and diversity continues

City unveils first Pride Crosswalk as commitment to inclusivity and diversity continues

As Pride Month celebrations get underway the City of St. Catharines is celebrating the installation of its first Pride Crosswalk, recognizing the community’s diversity and the importance of continued efforts toward inclusion.

The crosswalk was installed last week at the St. Paul Street pedestrian crossover located in front of the FirstOntario PAC, with a design developed in consultation with the City’s LGBTQ2+ and Anti-racism Advisory Committees.

The design is a modified version of the Human Rights and Equity Pride Flag. That design builds on the familiar rainbow Pride Flag with the addition of black and brown stripes to represent queer and trans black, indigenous and people of colour folks. Additionally, blue and pink stripes to represent the trans community.

The modified design also features a purple chevron, intersecting with white, recognizing the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe, and the Two Row Wampum agreement.

Mayor Walter Sendzik joined LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee Chair Liam Clarke-Coward to celebrate the opening on Wednesday, reaffirming the City’s commitment to creating an inclusive community that celebrates the diversity of all its members while delivering a high quality of life regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or background.

“The City of St. Catharines has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity and this new crosswalk is a very visible symbol and reminder of that commitment. Thank you to the LGBTQ2+ Advisory committee for their work on the design and implementation of the Pride Crosswalk,” said Sendzik. “This design is a visible acknowledgement of the city’s solidarity with our LGBTQ2+ and BIPOC communities here in St. Catharines and to visitors from afar. We want to ensure our community is a place where everyone feels seen and welcomed.”

The crosswalk’s installation adds to ongoing work to foster social well being, inclusivity and diversity in the city, including the signing of the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity; and the creation of the LGBTQ2+ and Anti-racism Advisory Committees, ensuring the voices of historically marginalized equity-seeking groups are heard in the decision making process.

“We want equity-seeking groups to know they are heard, they are seen and they are valued as important members of our community, the crosswalk is a way to visibly represent that every day in a very noticeable way,” said Deputy CAO David Oakes, adding, “St. Catharines is a community that not only recognizes, but embraces inclusivity. Diverse voices and viewpoints do nothing but strengthen us and foster mutual understanding.”

The crosswalk was installed using pre-formed thermoplastic material; a heavy-duty, durable, intersection-grade product which is applied with an adhesive to the asphalt and then heated using a propane torch essentially melting it into the road surface. The method creates a much more durable surface, lasting six to eight times longer than traditional traffic paint.