‘Rebuilding Our Pride’ (Mark Smith)

This document, from Mark Smith and dating originally from 2004, was revised in 2010. (You can also read the PDF original.) Most capitalization as in original.

See also

Mark’s comment on Facebook that mentions this document.

Rebuilding Our Pride

Calling on all lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, questioning, two-spirited communitity members to help shape the future of pride and our shared queer identity, culture and diversity

2010 has been a year of controversy and indecision.

Our community is split.

Pride Toronto faces huge hurdles in the coming year financial, structural and ideological.

This document outlines the process in which the Community will re-establish Pride Toronto as a beacon and example of; inclusion, rights and freedom of expression while maintaining a fundamentally strong, fiscally responsible and well-managed festival.

This is a living document intended to offer suggestions on how our community can move forward and rebuild Pride Toronto.

With this process it is our goal to ensure that Pride Toronto name, identity and logo are kept securely in the community’s hands, and Pride Toronto Festival operates as a democratic and vibrant community organization.

Participate, discuss and share your thoughts as we rebuild Pride Toronto!

Note: This document was originally developed in 2004 as a Pink Paper by Mark Smith for the PT board of directors; research was gathered from papers provided by and discussion with Sydney Mardi Gras, Folsom Fair, Heritage of Pride, and various discussion groups



Rebuild, Rejuvenate and Create a Strong Sustainable Future for Pride Toronto


  • Develop a transparent community consultation process
  • Secure the assets of Pride Toronto.
  • Define the core elements of Pride Toronto.
  • Build the foundations of a sustainable community based organization.
  • Deliver a 2011 Toronto Pride Festival umbrella, focusing on the core events; Community Marketplace/Streetfair, Parade/Marches, and other LGBTIQ2S-related events.
  • Determine the future of Toronto Pride and the Pride Festival (including World Pride 2014).
  • Develop a Constitution to act as a guide and maintain a strong, representative Pride Festival


We are committed a festival that reflects our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersexed, queer and two-spirited people through:

  • Community
  • Inclusion
  • Accessibility
  • Consultation
  • Volunteer involvement
  • Innovation
  • Transparency
  • Partnerships
  • Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Engagement
  • Fun
  • Celebration

This process must ensure that Toronto’s Pride Festival responds to the needs of the community, through accountability, dialogue, diligence and fiscal management.

We welcome everyone’s participation and encourage the sharing of ideas and vision.

Our festival must reflect the individual voices of our community; opposing ideals must be valued so to bring awareness and encourage a healthy debate.

It is not the goal of this process to dismantle the current organization but to prepare for the inevitable changes our festival faces.



With the formation of the Community Committee we will be committed to ensure that a meaningful and transparent process is undertaken to develop a Rebuild. We invite all community members to play an active and role in the process of building cohesive and productive teams dedicated to developing recommendations on Pride Toronto’s future. These recommendations will be delivered via written report to the community.

The final recommendations will be a result of public discussion and a review by a panel of experts1 to ensure a clear, transparent, and legal document.


The Committee will be formed with a commitment to meet on a regular basis or until such time as the tasks defined by the community are complete.

The Committee recognizes that this is an evolving process and as consultations continue; new committees and new processes with be added to the task list.

The Committee will bring together a group of individuals with diverse experience, expertise and points of view. The Committee will invite current and former Pride committee members, board members and office bearers in other Community Organizations and stakeholders. We recognize that some current and former Pride Committee members have legal or other relevant expertise.

This diverse membership ensures that issues would not be lightly dealt with. The recommendations made will be the result of lengthy, detailed and robust debates at formal committee meetings, assisted by discussion and dialogue at informal gatherings. Members understand that progress includes giving way on positions they had previously strongly held enabling a genuine consensus is reached.


  1. An open community meeting will be held in the coming weeks.

    • There will be no formal speeches.

  2. 2. Community members will be invited to share their thoughts on paper and open discussion.

    • At meetings and online.

  3. The first step will be to define the needs of our community around annual Pride Events

  4. subcommittees will be formed to lead idea streams in an open and transparent community consultation process.

  5. subcommittees will develop and write discussion papers that be presented at public forums.

  6. Community Committee will be built from members of the subcommittees and will include invited experts1; to develop guidelines for the Sub-Committees to move forward and maintain a cohesive framework for the final report/recommendations.

  7. The first meetings of this Committee will define an organizational structure and time lines set.

  8. Recommendations by the committee will move toward developing a Constitution delivered by the Community and adopted by the Board of Directors of Pride Toronto

“Experts” include; legal, business, governance, bylaw, human rights, event, marketing, public relations community members who hold particular expertise in their field of interest.


The Community Committee consultation process will focus around developing recommendations for a Constitution for Pride Toronto. This process can be divided into four parts:

Part 1: Discussion Papers

In the initial stages of this process discussion papers will be formulated by the subcommittees and distributed to the community online and at community forums.

These papers will include but are not limited to:

  1. Committee conduct and protocol
  2. Defining the committees role in terms of scope and timeframe.
  3. Establishment, role and function of subcommittees: audit /finance, governance etc.
  4. Review of current event
  5. Review the current organization and bylaws: including criteria for membership
  6. Review of current strategic plans, mission vision values
  7. A new structure for toronto pride: governance and articles
  8. Issues for the definition of a toronto pride constitution
  9. Goals and strategic plan guidelines for the next 5 years

These papers will be developed to facilitate dialogue within the community by outlining constitutional issues, developing ideas raised at public forums. It will be expected that much of the community’s feedback in the initial stage will be related to the structure of the new organization: including defining the Committees’ role in terms of scope and time frames.

Part 2: Community consultation

The Committee will engage in a range of community consultation strategies to ensure that a wide cross-section of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, inter-sex, queer, questioning and 2.spirted communities have input into the development of the Constitution of the new organization. These strategies are outlined below:

Open Community Forums

The Committee will hold four community forums, at which the core topics will be discussed. These will take place on set dates with no less then 10 days advance notice.

Consultation with Community Organization Representatives

The Committee will hold a forum for representatives from community organizations to discuss the issues raised through the general consultation process, as well as matters specific to our community organizations such as community ownership of word marks and intellectual property.

Community organizations and groups will contribute information in relation to their role in the protection of Pride Toronto’s intellectual property.

Expert Forums

A legal-experts forum and business experts’ forum will be held in order to gain feedback from people who hold particular expertise that would be of assistance to the Committee in drafting the Constitution. These forums are important in light of the need for financially sustainable management practices and legal implications of a “Pride Toronto” collapse and how to prevent a similar situation from arising in the future. Legal and business experts will have the opportunity to respond to the wider community’s concerns and offer their professional opinion about constitutional issues.

  • Legal forum
  • Business forum
  • Email and online discussion

The Committee will establish a mechanism for community members to respond with online discussion papers. Issues raised will then discussed by the Committee and incorporated into subsequent discussion papers and explored further at community forums.

Part 3: Research

The Committee will conduct its own research, which includes:

  • Interviews and email questionnaires, seeking input from community members with significant Toronto Pride experience.
  • A survey of community members who attended or participated in Street Fair and Marketplace focusing on questions of their needs, desires and expectations of community at the event.
  • Open consultation on board composition and method of electing the board. The Committee will research into the past committees and boards structures of Pride Toronto and comparative research on other similar organizations.
  • A survey of community members who attended or participated in Pride Parade, Dyke March and Trans March focusing on questions of their needs and desires


The committee believes that the constitutional-development process will be as thorough and inclusive as it can be given the context in which it is conducted (i.e. against the background of preparing for and presenting the 2011’s Pride Festival). Despite this limitation, we believe that the diversity of community opinion can be represented during this process.

We also acknowledge that, given the diversity of the community’s membership, experience and expertise, consensus may not be achievable on some issues.

We are nonetheless confident that the Constitution we recommend will represent the best outcomes possible and that it will meet the needs of the New Pride Toronto.



In drafting the Constitution, the Committee will seek to balance the following competing priorities:

  • A document that is readily comprehensible by members of the community
  • Language to be inclusive and non-discriminatory
  • Precision and conformity with the Corporations Act and the general law
  • A constitution that does not make amendment necessarily onerous or technically difficult

These priorities are not always compatible. The Constitution is a legal document (it is a contract between the organization and its members). Accordingly ensuring precision and conformity with the law will be the governing principles. Where possible the Committee will include explanatory notations to assist comprehension in these instances.

The Constitution recommended by the committee will not be “set in stone”. Further refinements or amendments may be required to address issues not considered by the Committee. While this Constitution may appropriate for New Pride Toronto, as it is now, future growth, membership expectations or changes in the law could lead to constitutional amendments. Members may also exercise their rights to propose constitutional amendments.


The first community forum will include a session that invites participants to suggest words and phrases that summarized the meaning and purpose of Toronto Pride. This session together with other community feedback will provide the basis for draft objectives. These objects will be circulated in an open forum for further discussion. It is noted that in rebuilding Pride Toronto the objectives should be inspirational, contemporary and acknowledge community achievements and community goals.

At the core of these objectives is the recognition that Pride Toronto’s principal activities are staging the Parade/Marches, Festival, Community Fair/Marketplace and affiliated events, expressed as “community events of , commemoration activism and celebration.” The Objectives will provide a context and purpose to staging these events and engaging in other activities. The Objectives will be sufficiently broad to enable Pride Toronto to engage in other or alternative activities as the organization develops or circumstances change.

In drafting these Objectives the Committee should also be conscious that adherence to the Objects would be the primary basis of membership.


The Committee notes that the 2010 Annual General Meeting of Pride Toronto will be held in unique circumstances and will attempt to provide for these circumstances.