Six Mile Lake Pride Parade
For Six Mile Lake, the problems of the pandemic called for an innovative solution, which is now becoming a welcome tradition. This tight lake community is coming together for a second year to show solidarity and support for our LGBTQ+ community, holding their second annual Gay Pride Boat Parade on June 26.
Due to COVID-19 strict social distancing measures and the elimination of large social gatherings, community events are still being cancelled. However, one determined young woman and a gay rights advocate, found a way to raise hope and create something fun and positive in support of her friends in the LGBTQ+ community.
Allison Vidug has deep rooted ties to Six Mile Lake where her great grandfather first purchased property in the 1940s. As a lifelong cottager with a love of the lake, the land, and the nature surrounding it, Allison took the leap and moved from the city to live here full time in April 2021 to put down permanent roots.
As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, Allison wanted to celebrate Gay Pride Week with a socially distanced parade where everyone could participate, while remaining within their own social bubbles and still show their love and support for the community. Last year, without knowing how the idea would be received or even how many people and vessels would participate, Allison posted a brief outline on the Six Mile Lake facebook page one week before the scheduled parade providing details of the lake parade route.
The morning of the parade, Allison and her friends were left speechless as boat after boat arrived at the starting point, decorated and flying the pride flags, ready to sail the parade route. Young and old, including a couple in their 90s with limited mobility, found a way to join the festivities as the regatta of boats sailed by while cottagers on shore stood at their docks cheering, waving pool noodles, blowing air horns, and clapping in solidarity. It was truly a show of love, respect, and tolerance.
At the end of the parade route everyone dropped anchor for a swim and to take the opportunity to meet other cottagers, some for the first time, while revelling in the spirit of a new beginning and hope for the future of this lake community.
One mom explained "I have been on this lake my whole life and I have never seen an event like this. It brought me to tears of happiness at the outpouring of love".
The success of the 2020 lake parade created such buzz that immediately, many people came forward asking how they could participate in the next one, raising no doubt that there would be a repeat in 2021. With the enthusiasm and support of the community, the Six Mile Lake Annual Gay Pride Boat Parade is now established, including an extended route this year to include more of the lake shoreline.
Along with the residents’ interest comes far reaching support from local associations and establishments. The Six Mile Lake Cottage Association is pledging their support with the entry of a decorated pontoon boat that will be sailing alongside the rest of the boaters. Muskoka Brewery will be joining and lending their name to the event. Planned 2 Perfection Limited , Paradise 2 Perfection Travel and The P2P Life are also proud to show their ongoing support of the community and its causes.
All are welcome to show their Pride Spirit and join in the festivities whether it be from the shore or by boat.
The Parade will begin at 1pm starting at the Six Mile Provincial Park
> heading towards South Hungry Bay
> around Hungry Island
> parallel to Long Lake
> through the Northwest Passage
> up to Crooked Bay
> down through Channel Two
> ending in Barefoot Bay!
COVID-19 Safety measures will be adhered to:
> Stay within your household/bubble.
> If joining by boat, be sure to have all of the safety gear required by law and a pleasure craft operators license.
> Maintain a safe speed and distance.
A small idea with a big outcome certainly has given new life to what has otherwise been a very stressful year for all. Allison, her friends and the residents of Six Mile Lake are a true testament to meaning of Community!
For more information on this year's parade please contact Allison Vidug - [email protected]