Hot fun in the summer Pride

Mike Fleury marches to his own beat.

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Pride gets off to a rousing start this weekend with a couple of old favourites and some all-new events. For example, the Dykes vs. Divas baseball game gets underway on the Common at 1pm on Sunday (classic), followed shortly thereafter by the Homo Hopper Tour at 3pm, hosted by Halifax's own April Showers (new). It's everything you already love about the Harbour Hopper, but with a lot more rainbow flags and gay themes. Should be great!

Visit www.halifaxpride.com for a full list of events. Ultimately, they all lead to the big gay centrepiece: the 19th annual Pride Day Parade on Saturday, July 21.

Regular attendees will have a new walking partner in '07; after years of conspicuous absence, mayor Kelly will embark on his virgin parade march. For reals this time. He told us so.

"There are actually three parades going on that day," explains the mayor—one in Dutch Settlement, one in Musqudoboit Harbour and Pride. In past years, such pressing engagements have always kept the mayor from Pride. But, with some schedule tweaks, the mayor plans to attend all three events.

If it seems like the mayor is arriving late to the party, well...that's exactly what he'd expect us to say.

"The only ones who brought this issue up as a point of discussion is the media," he says. "The pride committee has come in every year and told us what was going on and how we could work together. We recommit to the proclamation and to the reception and we've always indicted that we'll try to work with other elements. This year, all three parade organizations got together and committed to make it possible."

So, the mayor is in. And relations with pride week are healthy. Still, the "it's about time!" buzz lingers.

"It's overdue," says Pride Week spokesperson Raymond Taavel. "The mayor has always been very supportive, but in major cities, Toronto, Montreal, the mayor's office has always had a presence.

"This year, it seemed like there was more public pressure. Ironically, it wasn't coming from us—it was coming from John Q. Public. That's pretty cool."

The walls have eyes

Much as we love those warm summer nights, they don't do much for our sense of security. Last week alone, there was an assault on Argyle and Blowers, a shooting on Brunswick, a sexual assault on Macara Street and violent robberies on Gottingen and Buddy Daye. It's enough to make you wish that you were being recorded by invisible electronic watchdogs.

Well, good news.

Halifax Regional Police will be turning on eight to 10 new video surveillance cameras this month. In a police commissioners' report issued earlier this year, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada recommended that the public has a right to know about the system, a recommendation that HRP superintendent Bill Moore intends to follow—to a point. Just don't expect to know exactly when you're on HRP-TV.

"The affected areas will be signed, but I don't think we're going to say, "That's our camera right there,'" he says.

What Moore will say is that the new cams will be located in the downtown core, bordered Duke, Brunswick, Barrington and Spring Garden Road. They're also being considered for the waterfront boardwalk.

Some of the cameras are already in place, but not actively monitored; that will change after the new ones are officially switched on.

You out there, you’re the real stars. Email: mikef@thecoast.ca

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