Fredericton Pride 2023: a Powerful Showing of Support for the LGBTQ Community

Jul 28, 2023

Fredericton Pride is the biggest weekend on the gay calendar for the queer community in New Brunswick, Canada. Hosted from July 14 – 23, Fredericton Pride 2023 was a fun and vibrant celebration in the capital city of New Brunswick, a cherished maritime province in Atlantic Canada. 

A giant rainbow flag in the 2023 Fredericton Pride Parade in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The nine-day lineup of events included fabulous drag shows, social gatherings, outdoor adventures, community events, and the main event, the Fredericton Pride parade.

A group of people holding up a sign that spells 'LOVE' in the 2023 Fredericton Pride Parade.

People came from across the province and surrounding regions to attend Fredericton Pride events and to show their support for the queer community in Fredericton, especially given the current political discourse over Policy 713, where Premier Blaine Higgs and his conservative government have sparked outrage with the LGBGQ+ communities and their allies. 

Two people holding up a HUMAN Pride flag in the 2023 Fredericton Pride Parade.

Fredericton Pride was an important event, showcasing the importance of being visible and standing up for equality and human rights. The nine days of events were filled with laughter, emotions, celebrations, and lasting memories. 

Two friends wearing Pride accessories taking a selfie in the 2023 Fredericton Pride Parade.

Fredericton Pride 2023

Fredericton Pride is a nine-day long Pride festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. People flocked to the provincial capital city to show their support for the LGBTQ community. 

A person holding a gender non-binary fan at the 2023 Fredericton Pride Parade.

For 2023, Fredericton Pride focused on delivering a lineup of inclusive events and programs to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and culture. Throughout the nine days of events there were drag shows, drag brunches, dance parties, social gatherings, nature walks, education events, clothing swaps, community events, and the annual Fredericton Pride parade. 

Here are the highlights of just some of the many events from Fredericton Pride 2023.

Fredericton Pride Parade

On the afternoon of Sunday, July 23, the streets of Fredericton, New Brunswick were a sea of glitter, rainbows, confetti, and excitement as the Fredericton Pride parade made its way through the downtown core. 

A large Pride flag is carried in the 2023 Fredericton Pride Parade.

Stepping off just after 3:00pm from Fredericton City Hall, thousands of people lined the streets to take in the colorful Fredericton Pride Parade. The parade lasted about an hour and featured floats, colorful costumes, and unwavering support for queer rights and freedoms in New Brunswick. 

A large parade contingent makes its way through the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

The Fredericton Pride parade was led by the Wolastoq First Nations and Chief Allan Polchies, an out-and-proud two spirited chief of St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton Sitansisk Wolastoqiyik (St. Mary’s First Nation). 

Paramedics march with a dog in the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

Local businesses, community groups, associations, political parties, first responders, corporate partners, not-for-profit groups, and allies proudly marched in the Fredericton Pride parade to show their support of the LGBTQ+ community. Notably absent in the parade was the Fredericton mayor and provincial premier, Blaine Higgs. 

A person wearing a colorful outfit marching in the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

They Fredericton Pride parade had an entourage of local drag performers, members of the trans community, LGBTQ+ advocates, and prominent members of the queer community.  

A person proudly carrying a transgender Pride flag in the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

Pride flags waived high and proud throughout the streets as people shouted, “Happy Pride!” The entire city was buzzing with joy, energy, and love. 

A group of people holding up the word 'LOVE' made from rainbow coloured balloons at the 2023 Fredericton Pride Parade.

Fredericton Pride 2023 Events 

Throughout the nine days of Fredericton Pride 2023, there were a host of events designed to bring the community together, raise awareness of LGBTQ rights, develop opportunities to meet other like-minded people, and to foster community relationships.

The rainbow Pride crosswalk in front of Fredericton City Hall in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The community-focused Fredericton Pride 2023 events included a flag raising ceremony at Fredericton City Hall, a queer community market, a block party, drag brunch, comedy night, a 5 à 7 social meet up, a traditional Atlantic Canada kitchen party, Zumba, and more. 

Garrison Night Market 

The Garrison Night Market is a weekly summer tradition in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and on Thursday, July 21, the market on Carleton Street welcomed the LGBTQ community with open arms for a night of inclusivity and celebration. 

Pride night at the Garrison Night Market in Fredericton, Nova Scotia.

The weekly Garrison Night Market in Fredericton includes food vendors, sports and community organizations, crafters, and local businesses. There is a main stage that features talent from the greater Fredericton region. 

Register nurses volunteer at the Fredericton Pride booth at the Garrison Night Market during Pride Night.

Sexuality NB and AIDSNB had a booth to promote awareness, unity, and sexual health education. Fredericton Pride sponsor, HomoCulture, provided ONE Condoms, that were distributed to be used as part of a safer sex toolkit. 

HomoCulture-branded ONE Condoms being distributed during Pride Night at the Garrison Night Market in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Fredericton Pride Nature Walk

On the morning of Saturday, July 22 over two dozen people came together to make new friends and to explore and learn about nature at Oromocto Gateway Wetlands. The Fredericton Pride nature walk explored the diversity of the wetland ecosystem. 

A group participating in the Fredericton Pride Nature Walk during Fredericton Pride 2023.

The hour-long Fredericton Pride nature walk was a peaceful outdoor encounter for the queer community to connect with each other, and with nature. 

A covered bridge in Oromocto Gateway Wetlands in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Guide Kristen Johnsen shared insights about the flora and fauna living in the wetlands as the group strolled the accessible pathways and picturesque boardwalks of the mesmerizing sanctuary.

Flora and fauna living in the diverse wetlands of the Oromocto Gateway Wetlands in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Fredericton Pride Big Queer Canoe

On Saturday, July 22, the afternoon skies cleared, and the sun was shining bright for the Fredericton Pride Big Queer Canoe. Two large canoes were filled with members of the queer community, providing the opportunity to be surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes and the camaraderie of fellow adventurers.

Participants ready to go for the Fredericton Pride Big Queer Canoe in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The two-hour canoe trip down the Wolastoq (Saint John River), was hosted by local drag performers, Barb Wire and Heather Silk. Each led their own canoe teams down river singing campy sing-along songs and lip sync performances. 

A group paddles their canoe down the Wollaston (Saint John River) for the Big Queer Canoe during Fredericton Pride 2023.

As the paddlers forged their way downstream, the canoe teams took part in races and synchronized paddling activities. It was a fun afternoon on the water, embracing the freedom and joy of being with other outdoor enthusiasts.  

Drag queens host a sing-along down the Wollaston (Saint John River) for the Big Queer Canoe during Fredericton Pride 2023.

Community Programming  

Fredericton Pride has a large impact on local businesses. The participation of local businesses is an important part of Fredericton Pride. As the LGBTQ community united to celebrate and embrace diversity, many local establishments got involved with their own Pride activations. 

A local brewery decked out with Pride flags during Fredericton Pride 2023.

Many local businesses proudly displayed rainbow flags and Pride-themed window displays, sending a powerful message to residents and visitors that love, diversity, and acceptance are values deeply ingrained in the fabric of the Fredericton community. 

In addition to window decorations, many local businesses organized their own Pride-themed events, recognizing the importance of celebrating Fredericton Pride. These events provided platforms for dialogue, education, and celebration, allowing people from all walks of life to come together and learn from one another. They created spaces where individuals could share their experiences, foster connections, and deepen their understanding of the LGBTQ+ community. 

A lady holding a rainbow umbrella in the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

The community-wide engagement fosters an inclusive and supportive environment. Fredericton Pride reflects the understanding that acceptance and celebration of diversity extends beyond individual identities. 

A child wearing Pride accessories while watching the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

Why Fredericton Pride is Important

New Brunswick has traditionally been a conservative jurisdiction. It’s also a heavily Catholic and Christian region, with churches prominently lining city streets and rural highways. Despite Canada being the gold standard in human rights and equality, combined conservative views and religious beliefs have an impact on creating safe and inclusive spaces for the queer community in New Brunswick. 

An aerial photo of downtown Fredericton.

While it’s not common, it’s also not uncommon for queer people who live in or visit New Brunswick, to experience unwelcomed attitudes and actions towards the LGBTQ community. Across New Brunswick, attitudes and views over the years have generally shifted to being more inclusive and welcoming. 

However, whether it’s walking down the street, eating in a restaurant, or visiting a local business, queer people are aware they must always be alert, aware, and prepared, especially in jurisdictions like New Brunswick where conservative and religious views still remain.

People holding signs supporting transgender rights at the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

While most people in Fredericton, and New Brunswick are warm and friendly people, who welcome the LGBTQ+ community with open arms, there is a chance of receiving poor customer service or experiencing hate-speech. 

This can happen in any community, at any time, and isn’t an issue local to Fredericton, or New Brunswick. It’s a key reason why the annual Fredericton Pride events are important to the queer community in New Brunswick, and why queer people need to support queer owned and operated businesses, and businesses that have LGBTQ certifications and accreditation. 

People draped in Progressive Pride flags at the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

Additionally, this year, New Brunswick Premier, Blaine Higgs, and his conservative government worked diligently to pass Policy 713, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policy. 

The policy makes negative amendments to the SOGI policy, setting new minimum requirements for public schools and districts, removing explicit mention of allowing students to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports programs, that reflect their gender identity. 

The controversial policy changes also forbid teachers from using the preferred names and pronouns of students under the age of 16 without the consent from their parents. 

A teacher holding a sign in the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

“Trans kids in New Brunswick are being told they don’t have the right to be their true self, that they need to ask permission,” said Canada’s Prime Minster, Justin Trudeau at a Pride event in June. “Trans kids need to feel safe, not targeted by politicians.”

A child decked out in Pride gear at the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade

Two New Brunswick ministers quit in protest of the revised SOGI policy, and two others were removed for not supporting the policy changes. Premier Higgs continues to face swift backlash from the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and equality rights activists, and threatens to be pushed out of office as members of his own party call for a leadership review. 

HomoCulture founder, Brian Webb, at the Pride crosswalk in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Despite all these challenges, Fredericton Pride stands as a triumphant celebration, highlighting the resilience and unity of the LGBTQ+ community. By coming together, advocating for equality, and promoting acceptance, Fredericton Pride serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights and the need for continued support and celebration in the face of adversity.

Plan to Attend Fredericton Pride 2024 

The politics and policies do not directly impact visitors to New Brunswick. By choosing to visit the picturesque Atlantic Canadian province, you can show just how strong and vibrant the LGBTQ community can be, and your tourism dollars go to work when you support queer owned and operated businesses, so they can continue to serve the local LGBTQ+ community, year-round. 

People dressed up in furry outfits at the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

While more work needs to be done to make New Brunswick a more LGBTQ friendly destination, through legislation, certification, education, and community building, Fredericton Pride exemplifies the spirit of Pride, serving as a testament to the progress made in promoting equality and acceptance. 

People proudly marching in the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

The event unites people from all walks of life, forging bonds of understanding and celebrating the rich tapestry of the LGBTQ+ community. Fredericton stands as a growing opportunity to promote inclusivity by embracing, honoring, and uplifting the voices and experiences of its LGBTQ+ residents, allies, and visitors. 

Emergency services personnel proudly marching in the 2023 Fredericton Pride parade.

Be bold, be brave, and show your Pride. Start making your plans now to attend Fredericton Pride 2024 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.  

Book your tickets and plan for New Brunswick today!

Summer adventure awaits in New Brunswick, located on the east coast of Atlantic Canada. The culture and heritage of this scenic and welcoming maritime province offers visitors a plethora of opportunities to explore. 

Fishing boats sitting on the ocean floor while the tide is out in Alma, New Brunswick.

From the Bay of Fundy coastline with 56-foot tides, equivalent to a five-story building, to picturesque seaside towns and Canada’s oldest incorporated city, Saint John, there is so much to see, do, and explore in this sunning Atlantic Canada province. 

A lighthouse overlooking the river in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Flowing through the downtown core of Fredericton is the Wolastoq (Saint John River), creating a natural ribbon of parkway, and opportunities for water sports including rowing, canoeing, paddle boarding. Fredericton is a vibrant urban oasis, with beaches, golf courses, gardens, museums, galleries, heritage sites, and microbreweries.

While the tide is out, people walk along the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick.

Start planning your trip to Fredericton, and across the province of New Brunswick with the help of Fredericton Tourism and Tourism New Brunswick

The silhouette of a lighthouse at sunset in New Brunswick.

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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