It’s time to be Bigger and time to be Better! Capital Pride smashed all of its records this year with an incredibly successful week of events. The Velvet Studio was told by several Directors that the number of spectators watching the parade was between 75 000 and 80 000, which is a monumental increase over the estimated 50 000 who showed up last year.
Capital Pride has been billed as Ottawa’s most colourful festival and as we see it rapidly increase in size it is set to be one of Ottawa’s biggest. Sources at Capital Pride told the Velvet Studio that the festival was so successful that they made a substantial sum at the beer tent, approximately 80k, however after deducting costs and what Capital Pride still owes, the remaining net profit was 35 -40k, a substantial amount.
At the Sponsors reception, Ian Capstick from the Ottawa Village reiterated his ambition to have the entire festival returned to Bank Street to feature in the Village itself. It had happened before but nearly bankrupted what was then a much smaller organization. Although Capital Pride would now have the funds (The Village is now also funded and would be able to help) it is the opinion of the Velvet Studio’s Luke Smith that there may be a better option.
The Velvet Studio has been reporting on Capital Pride for over a year and there is one thing which can certainly be improved and that is it’s management. The organization is volunteer run with an executive group which changes each year. This causes a loss of institutional memory, something which caused great concern during Pride week as the organizers were taken off guard by the City calling in its bill upfront, a policy that has been in place for a while.
The other issue with volunteer Directors is that many of them burn out, leave due to work or health reasons, or are forced out through scandal. With constant change at the highest level Capital Pride is prone to making the same mistakes over and over again. The side affect of this is that the portfolios of each Director is only as good as the person running it. This year we saw some incredible work done with the Parade owed in large to the work of Tova Larson and the communication and outreach improved significantly when Brodie Fraser joined in the mid summer. But it is unlikely that these two will return. Last year there was a lot of success from the Sponsorship Directors however that portfolio dropped off this year.
One of the ways that other Pride Organizations avoid this problem is by hiring full time staff for the whole year. In the really big cities like Montreal and Toronto, they have a great number of staff hired all year around. The best comparison in size with Ottawa would probably be Winnipeg. Winnipeg has someone hired to oversee Pride throughput the year. As Capital Pride can now afford to have someone who’s job it is to make Pride as big as possible is the logical next step in the evolution of the organization. It would ensure that all of the Director portfolios are guaranteed when, the Directors may not be. The position of Executive Director answerable to the Board would be best. With the possibility of a salary up to $35 -40 000 it would certainly attract some of the best talent Ottawa has to offer.
What do you think of an ED position at Pride? Would it help? Let us know by commenting below.