After announcing earlier in May that the courtesy crosswalk directly in front of City Hall would be removed, the City of Kingston has now installed its Pride crosswalk at a new location.
On Tuesday, May 2, 2023, the City announced that the lines painted across Ontario Street as part of a “courtesy crosswalk” from City Hall to Confederation Park would be removed the following day. This, the City said, was to “improve pedestrian safety,” as the courtesy crossings are not a recognized type of pedestrian crossing under the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario and do not conform to the City’s standards for pedestrian crossings.
For years, that courtesy crosswalk had been painted with rainbow colours in honour of Pride Month, which occurs annually in June. The City addressed the matter, noting that “City staff are reaching out to the 2SLGBTQ+ community through focused conversations to seek input regarding potential alternate locations for a painted crosswalk or other possible forms of recognition for pride month this year as well as future, more permanent recognitions.”
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 31, 2023, with the beginning of Pride Month just a day away, the new Pride crosswalk was painted. Now located at the north side of the intersection of Ontario and Clarence Streets, the crosswalk not only features the bright colours of the rainbow Pride flag, but the pink, white, and blue chevrons of the transgender flag, black and brown chevrons representing racialized LGBTQ2S+ people, and a yellow triangle with a purple circle in the middle, representing the intersex flag. This design is often referred to as the “Intersex Inclusive Progress Pride Flag,” and incorporates design updates by artists Daniel Quasar (2018) and Valentino Vecchietti (2021).
“The location for this year’s temporary crosswalk was selected based on a number of factors, including that it is an existing pedestrian crosswalk, it is near a location that has significance for Kingston 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and is along the pride parade route,” the City of Kingston said. Neighbouring business Tir Nan Og, and specifically Monte’s within it, has long served as an LGBTQ2S+ friendly establishment, hosting a number of events in partnership with the local LGBTQ2S+ community.
“The new design incorporates representation for intersex people. Both the updated design and location were decided in consultation with Kingston Pride,” the City continued. “During Pride, the City will be engaging with the community on possible locations and design for a permanent crosswalk.”
In a statement on its social media channels, Kingston Pride voiced support of the new crosswalk and design. “Our new Pride crosswalk is now painted! Thank you to City of Kingston for committing to supporting Pride again this year,” the organization wrote, urging followers to send in their best “model walk” photos to be featured on Kingston Pride’s social media channels.
“Go check out all the colours just outside Monte’s and the Tourism Information Centre on Ontario St!” the statement continued before dropping a teaser. “Stay tuned for more news on where a PERMANENT crosswalk will be put in place soon!”
Pride 2023 kicks off tomorrow, Thursday, Jun. 1, 2023, with Kingston Pride’s events planned for June 11 to June 18. Greater Napanee Pride announced its 2023 events in early May, and the first installment of Movies in the Square will be a joint presentation of the City and Reelout Queer Film and Video Festival, the latter organization partnering again with Greater Napanee Pride for 2023.