EDMONTON -- Alberta Health Services celebrated Pride Month in Edmonton by holding its first ever Pride Drive Wednesday.

Normally AHS marks Pride Month by holding group gatherings within its facilities, but with physical distancing measures in place due to COVID-19, this year the group decided to take its pride on the road.

“Many marginalized people already feel isolated in their identities within the workplace and greater society,” said Marni Panas, program manager of diversity and inclusion with AHS. “That has only been compounded in times of physical distancing.”

“This was an opportunity to celebrate the pride of our LGBTQ2S+ community within Alberta Health Services in a way that also shows gratitude and gives thanks to all of the many individuals who have worked so hard over the last three months,” said Panas.

Beginning at the U of A Hospital, the Pride Drive’s route took its convoy past healthcare facilities all around the city.​

Pride Drive

Community members stood outside those buildings, waving flags and signs in support.

“It‘s really an opportunity for us to be able to both celebrate and recognize our LGBTQ2S+ community, our employees, the patients and families in which we serve and the communities in which we work,” said Todd Gilchrist from AHS.

“Pride has a long history that dates back to the 1969 riots,” he said. “It’s an opportunity just to show support, help that part of our community see themselves in our organization.”

In recent years hundreds of AHS members have taken part in Edmonton’s Pride Parade. This year’s parade was cancelled because of COVID-19.