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Video: Coquitlam hoisting Pride flag a 'historic' moment for the community

A Coquitlam social justice advocate is grateful not only for the city's commitment, but for the group of young people that made the flag raising possible.
Coquitlam raised the Pride flag at city hall for the first time in its history on June 1, 2023.

More than 110 multi-coloured flags were installed on Coquitlam streetlights this week to mark Pride Month, and will stay in place for related community festivities this summer.

But perhaps none represent more significance to the local queer community than the larger one currently waving outside city hall (3000 Guildford Way).

A rainbow flag was officially raised outside Coquitlam's main civic facility for the first time in its history at around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday (June 1).

An official ceremony was not scheduled to take place.

So, after visiting city hall and noticing the flag was already up, local social justice advocate Nicola Spurling asked if city staff could hoist it a second time so she could record the "historic" moment for all to see.

Coquitlam RCMP was in charge of the flag raising, Spurling said, and offered to re-raise it.

"As a queer person living in Coquitlam, it means a lot to see symbols that my city supports me, and it's clear that Coquitlam is working to be visibly supportive of 2SLGBTQIA+ people," she told the Tri-City News.

Spurling is the founder of the Tri-Cities Pride and Queer Coquitlam community groups.

"I want to extend a huge thank you to the Charles Best GSA [Gay/Straight Alliance] and their teacher, Ms. [Megan] Leslie, who advocated for this flag raising and a Pride event in the city."

@tricitynews A historic moment. 🏳️‍🌈 #tricitynews #coquitlam #pride #prideflag #pridemonth ♬ original sound - TriCityNews

Coquitlam city council gave a resounding "yes" to the Dr. Charles Best students that made a presentation on Feb. 27 requesting the city to raise the flag and organize a local Pride event.

A funding of $6,000 was eventually approved on April 17 by the city's council-in-committee to help host a series of free activities at the Evergreen Cultural Centre.

The money is set to go towards honorariums, marketing, security and administration.

For years, supporters and allies have ventured to Vancouver, Burnaby or New Westminster events to celebrate Pride Month.

Spurling believes the Charles Best GSA should be commended for being strong representatives of diversity and inclusion for the community.

"These students are wonderful advocates," she said, "and while I had hoped they, and the general public, had been invited to witness the city's first Pride flag raising, I'm nevertheless very happy to see the Pride flag flying at city hall, as well as the Pride flags throughout other areas of the city."

In addition to the flags, the light posts along Pinetree Way will shine rainbow colours for the rest of June.

Coquitlam Pride at Evergreen is scheduled to take place on July 15 from 12 to 5 p.m.

For more information on Coquitlam Pride events, you can visit the city's website.