Pride in Manitoba has come a long way since Winnipeg’s first march in 1987. Now, cities and towns across the province host parades and events for the LGBTQ* community and their allies. The newest addition to the list is Riding Mountain National Park’s Pride Week, six days of fun and festivities in Clear Lake Country. Check out these 10 ways to take in Manitoba’s newest Pride celebration.
1. Come out(side)
Riding Mountain National Park in early September is a treat; the warm days and cool nights are perfect for active outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, horseback riding and more. You can also keep it more low-key with a stroll along the Lakeshore Walk to watch the sun set over the water. For the best of both worlds, rent a two-, four-, or six-person bike from Old Surrey Station Bike Rentals and tour the Wasagaming townsite.
2. Break out the scissors
Up your rainbow quotient with button making and handmade patches from members of SERC Brandon, or colourful airbrush tattoos and flags from Parks Canada’s Pride Yourself Station. If you’re feeling crafty, count on everything from sidewalk chalk to glitter for kids, or get your brushes ready for the Pour, Sip and Paint event for adults.
3. Taste the rainbow
There are so many places to eat out in Clear Lake Country! With everything from ice cream to pizza to “beach buns” to choose from, local favourites like Foxtail, T R McKoys and the Whitehouse Bakery and Restaurant are ready to serve you. No matter what you’re into, there’s something for every taste.
4. Get wet and wild
Grab your bathing suit and head down to Clear Lake proper. Get out on the water by renting a kayak, peddle boat or stand-up paddleboard from the Clear Lake Marina, or take a dip in the aptly-named clear lake water before soaking up the sun on the beach.
5. Spend time between the sheets
Sleeping outside town is fun (and cabins and campgrounds abound in Clear Lake Country) but sleeping in town is even better. The Arrowhead Family Resort is a great place for couples and families alike right in the heart of Wasagaming. Take a swim in the heated outdoor pool or cozy up under the covers in a newly renovated guest room.
6. Get (your) hit on
For a different kind of paddling, head to the Clear Lake Tennis Courts by the beach. Rent some pickleball paddles or a tennis racket and play a game or two! For something a little more family-friendly, grab a mini golf club and play your way through 18 holes at the Adventure Mini Golf course.
7. Cash your pink dollar
What’s a Pride celebration without a little retail therapy? Snag a great deal from the many local shops and boutiques offering end-of-season sales, or take advantage of handmade Pride-themed goodies like bath bombs and candles available at the Makers’ Market.
8. Party with queens
Pride without drag queens is like summer without sunshine…and the ladies (and gentleman) of the Sunshine House are just what a Pride celebration needs. Already a big hit in Winnipeg, take in Read by Queens on the patio of the Lakehouse with story time, singing, dancing and crafts. If you stick around until the sun goes down, you can catch these queens werking it during Drag Queen Bingo.
9. Meet some bears (and bison)
The bears at this Pride week include the four-legged variety! Join the “Call of the Wild Car Caravan” for a safari through Riding Mountain National Park, including a guided nature hike to a bear’s den, wildlife scouting and elk calling. Finish your adventure by getting up close and personal in the Lake Audy bison enclosure.
10. Dance your bass off
What category are we on right now? DJ Mama Cutsworth’s family dance parties defy definition. Take some sweet beats and colourful costumes for dancers of all ages, then add platform boots, voguing and Diana Ross. You’ll never want to come back in.