Peterborough Pride

Published 13, Sep, 2011
Author // Bob Leahy - Publisher

Peterborough is a bluish-collar city an hour north-east of Toronto. Pride flourishes here, but not without controversy. Bob Leahy talks to PARN’s Kim Dolan about the challenges involved when family-friendly values clash with freedom of expression.

Peterborough Pride

Peterborough, Ontario is an attractive city on the banks of the Trent waterway system which snakes through its downtown. Toronto is about an hour's drive away. It’s blue collar territory, by and large, but it’s also home to Trent University, so there is a vibrant queer culture here. This is no more evident than in the ambitious program of Pride week activities held each September. They start with an enthusiastic Pride Parade through downtown Peterborough Saturday September 17, and then just keep going.

For more details of Pride Peterborough festivities, go to their website here. There you will find a link to their Pride Guide, or click here.

PositiveLite has covered big-city Pride celebrations before but wanted to see how smaller cities operate. Can bluish-collar Peterborough (pop 75,000), handle nudity on its Main Street? Or does Pride need to come in a more family friendly version here, recognizing that even though Peterborough can be a pretty queer-friendly city, mainstream community standards are very different here?


These are the kind of questions I wanted to explore with PARN’s* Kim Dolan.  How do Pride organizers here handle the almost inevitable controversies? What happens, for instance, when a marcher wears chaps revealing a very bare behind? And what standards apply here – those of the mainstream, who probably disapprove quite strongly, or those of queers who feel freedom of expression, including sexual expression, is too important a value to give up?

Anyway, here’s the interview with Kim who answers these questions graciously and more.

We'll be back in Peterborough later this week.  Watch for PositiveLite’s coverage of the Parade itself this coming weekend.

Happy Pride, Peterborough!

*Peterborough AIDS Resouce Network

About the Author

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s campaign, along with founder Brian Finch. He joined at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.