Skip to content

York Pride enhancing accessibility for this weekend's festival

Accessibility features include a low-sensory zone, parade and stage viewing areas

York Pride has partnered with UniversalCare to create a more inclusive and accessible Pride festival this weekend in Newmarket.

York Pride is expanding four key areas of accessibility to ensure that everyone, regardless of their physical or sensory needs, can fully participate in the celebrations.

A new trans march from the municipal offices to Fairy Lake Park is kicking off the festivities, just before Sparkling Night gets underway Friday, June 14 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Riverwalk Commons, 200 Doug Duncan Dr. in Newmarket, with live performances of fashion and music.

The Pride Parade takes to Main Street at 3 p.m., travelling from Queen to Water streets, with activities continuing at Riverwalk Commons from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., including performances, food and craft vendors, and community organization booths.

Riley's Room

Building on the success of previous years, York Pride will continue to offer Riley's Room, a dedicated low-sensory zone. This tranquil space provides a retreat for individuals who need a quieter, more controlled environment. With airbag chairs, textured toys, a weighted lap pad, noise-cancelling headphones, muted games, slow and low light show and more, Riley's Room ensures that attendees with sensory sensitivities can comfortably enjoy the festival.

York Pride Parade Viewing Area

Located on the parade route at Main and Botsford streets, community members may request or find space while available. The space will be open on Saturday, June 15 from noon to 4:45 p.m.

Main Stage Viewing Area

Located at the front of the stage on the left will be a dedicated zone for those to catch some shade and a seat. Individuals using accessibility devices will have access to an unobstructed view of the stage.

Enhanced Accessibility Features

Other enhanced accessibility features for this year's festival include:

  • Wheelchair rentals are available at the festival guest services.
  • Designated viewing areas at the Pride Parade and main events to ensure visibility and comfort for all attendees.
  • Sensory bags equipped with essential tools for those who need them throughout the festival.
  • Riley’s Room in Hall #2 at 200 Doug Duncan Dr., Newmarket (north of the main stage at Riverwalk Commons.)

"York Pride is truly grateful for the support from UniversalCare; this partnership has allowed us to expand key areas of accessibility at York Pride in 2024. We can't wait to see what we can do in 2025," Jacob Gal, director of operations York Pride, said in a news release.

Joseph Gulizia, president and CEO of UniversalCare, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, saying, “UniversalCare is proud to be the first and only senior health-care sponsor of York Pride, proudly supporting events that celebrate diversity and inclusivity across all generations. As champions for equality, we believe in creating environments where everyone, regardless of age, background or identity, feels valued and respected.

"By joining York Pride, we continue our commitment to advocate for the rights and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring that their voices are heard and their stories are shared. This partnership reflects our dedication to building a supportive and welcoming community that honours every individual’s identity. Together, UniversalCare looks forward to celebrating with York Pride - today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.”

To request a space in our viewing areas/rentals, contact: [email protected] SUBJECT LINE: Accessibility Request
Body of message: First name, last name, phone number, email and QTY of members requiring a seat or spot.