History of the Run
In 1996, over 300 LGBTQ2+ people took to the streets of Toronto as participants in the first ever Pride and Remembrance Run, a 5K sporting event benefitting the AIDS Memorial and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (now known as The ArQuives). In its first year, the run was able to raise about eight thousand dollars. Since then, the annual Pride and Remembrance Run and the associated Pride and Remembrance Foundation have raised over two million dollars for charitable causes in the LGBTQ2+ community.
Alan Belaiche, the founder of the run, recalls being inspired to create the event after losing two close friends to diabetes and HIV/AIDS in 1995. In an effort to honour loved ones lost and the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ2S+ rights, Belaiche defined the run by twin values of pride and remembrance.
“The run hopefully opened up opportunities for people to feel good about themselves and to feel part of something bigger, that they’re not alone.”
Oral History Interview with Alan Belaiche
The Pride and Remembrance Run formed part of a burgeoning group of LGBTQ2+ sports organizations in the 1990s aimed at overcoming the barriers often faced by queer people in sport.
“There was this slight act of bravery that went along with signing up for, showing up for, standing at the start line and running this gay race.”
Oral History Interview with Mikael Dam
The run's decisions to offer gender-neutral awards, allow participants to walk, and its relatively short distance set a standard of inclusivity for the event. This is matched with a fun and light-hearted atmosphere on race day: many runners participate in costume or drag. In an oral history interview, former co-president of the Pride and Remembrance Association Bernardine Perreira recalls seing runners from the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario showing up to the run dressed up in judicial robes.
"What's so lovely about the event is you dont have to do it by yourself."
Oral History Interview with Kathleen Wynne
Throughout the years, various politicians and athletes have participated or otherwise shown support for the Pride and Remembrance Run, including Bill Graham, Marnie McBean, Kyle Rae, Barbara Hall, Chrystia Freeland, George Smitherman, Pam McConnell, Brian Orser and Kathleen Wynne.
Today, the Pride and Remembrance Run's annual fundraising effort is complemented with year-round philanthropy through the Pride and Remembrance Foundation. Recently, the Pride and Remembrance Foundation has made its first multi-year charitable pledge to the Women's College Hospital Transition Relation Surgeries Program, an initiative which strives to assist trans people with the financial burden often associated with transition-related healthcare. Since its inception, the Pride and Remembrance Run and Foundation has offered support to a significant number of LBGTQ2+ charities and organizations including The ArQuives, The 519 Community Centre, LGBT Youthline, the AIDS Committee of Toronto. A complete list of the beneficiaries of the run can be found at the bottom of this page.
"You feel a real sense of accomplishment. You did good."
Oral History Interview with Chris Brohman
This digital exhibition is comprised of materials donated to The ArQuives as part of the Pride and Remembrance Association fonds. You will find digitized photographs, letters, posters, t-shirts, news articles, VHS tapes, and other ephemera. A series of oral history interviews produced for the Pride and Remembrance Run's 25th anniversary are also available. Explore the rest of the exhibition by clicking through the links at the top of the page.
Past beneficiaries of the Pride and Remembrance Run from 1996 to 2020 have included:
The ArQuives, The AIDS Memorial, PFLAG Toronto, The David Kelley Lesbian and Gay Community Counselling Program - Family Service Association of Toronto, Inside Out, People with AIDS Foundation, AIDS Committee of Toronto, Youthline, Triangle Program of the Toronto District School Board, Fife House, HIV and AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario, Food for Life, The 519 Church Street Community Centre, Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity - Ottawa, Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, Black CAP, EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust, Casey House, Singing Out, Rainbow Railroad, Women’s College Hospital – Transition-Related Surgery Compassionate Fund, and Supporting Our Youth.
The beneficiaries of the Pride and Remembrance Run for 2021 are Asian Community AIDS Services, Rainbow Faith and Freedom, Sherbourne Health Centre, The Get Real Movement and The Stephen Lewis Foundation