Rainbow crosswalks are popping up in the Halifax area ahead of the city’s annual Pride Festival.

Crews began painting the brightly-coloured crosswalks overnight. Three highly visible intersections in Halifax and one in Dartmouth have been selected for the pilot project:

  • Gottingen and Cornwallis streets
  • Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street
  • Spring Garden Road and South Park Street
  • Alderney Drive and Ochterloney Street

Mayor Mike Savage says the rainbow crosswalk pilot project demonstrates the Halifax Regional Municipality’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“They’re beautiful and I think people will be very proud to see those because we want to be a truly inclusive and diverse city,” says Savage. “People talk about tolerance. It’s not about tolerance. It’s about acceptance and honouring our differences and really believing that those things that make us different make us stronger together.”

The project is a collaborative effort between the LGBTQ community, the Mayor’s Office and Transportation and Public Works municipal staff.

“It’s really about celebration as well,” says Coun. Jennifer Watts. “I mean, this is a very tangible way of saying that we’re excited, we’re honoured, it’s so cool, it’s vibrant, it’s creative, so I think that’s one of the big things about painting these crosswalks, is a very strong symbol in our community that this is a celebration and we’re happy about it.”

Halifax Pride board member Morgan Manzer says the crosswalks show the municipality is committed to providing safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.

“Which is so important, and it’s kind of that constant reminder that we have that support for acceptance and inclusion in the city,” says Manzer. “It’s so tangible to see when you have a vibrant art installation right across the city, but right here especially on the corner of Gottingen and Cornwallis, because it has such historical underpinnings for our community. It means a lot to us.”

The city says the paint is to government safety and environmental standards and crews are taking extra measures to reduce slippery surfaces and ensure the existing safety infrastructure is not altered.

Work on the crosswalks is expected to be complete by the end of the week, in time for Halifax Pride 2016, which runs from July 14 to July 24.