The pathway on Cow Bay Road transformed into a rainbow on Tuesday, June 7 after members of the Charles Hays Secondary School Gay Straight Alliance, students from the Prince Rupert Middle School, and other volunteers came out to paint in the sun.
Christine Danroth, an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning) activist in the community, has been lobbying for a crosswalk since last year. In June, Prince Rupert City Council approved of a rainbow painted crosswalk in front of Atlin Terminal but this year it became a pathway.
“We initially started out with the idea that we wanted to do a cross walk but then we changed it to a pathway because it was a little bit easier to do and the cross walks really get eroded every year and almost disappear,” Danroth said.
Christine Danroth with Mike Russell work together to paint the rainbow pathway. SHANNON LOUGH/THE NORTHERN VIEW
There was varying support for the symbolic project. Some residents felt that the city should be spending its budget on repairing roads and sidewalks.
Danroth said that Mayor Lee Brain helped the group with the idea to paint a pathway instead, which will be less expensive to maintain.
“The city is supporting this. We ended up purchasing the equipment and the paint and our engineers came out here and put the lines nice and straight for them. It was a collaborative effort and these are the types of things we want to see in the community,” Brain said.
Four rainbow pathways were installed in Vancouver’s Davie Street Village in 2013 to reflect its LGBTQ community and for the city to show its support. The permanent colourful crosswalks were the first in Canada and since then more have been painted around the country.
Although the city offered some support for the initial painting of the pathway, the LGBTQ community will take over the responsibility and will fundraise for the project’s expansion starting on Saturday at The Wheelhouse.
The goal was to finish the pathway in time for Seafest. Finley Casavent, one of the students from CHSS, said he’s feeling a lot of support with the addition of the pathway.
“It just means a lot to me because it’s my community,” Casavent said.
After the largest mass shooting in U.S. history happened Sunday at a LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, members of the Prince Rupert community held a vigil for the victims at the rainbow pathway that evening.