As Tapestry employees and residents prepared to march in the 44th Vancouver PRIDE parade on July 31st, Lead Concierge Kevin Leeming was almost overcome with emotion. Proudly holding the symbolic rainbow flag and leading the excited Tapestry team, Kevin felt a rush of emotion as he participated in what can only be described as a historic moment for the company, its residents and employees.
It was a long-held dream of Kevin’s that Tapestry participate in the PRIDE parade. With our involvement in 2022, Tapestry was proudly the first seniors’ community to join the celebration, one of the liveliest in Canada.
“For me, it was a clear example that we can live our truth as individuals without fear or the need to hide our true selves,” says Kevin. “With our participation, we showed that Tapestry is truly inclusive, welcomes all and that we believe in fully celebrating and embracing who we are as individuals and as a group of people who live and work together.”
More than 20 employees from both of Tapestry’s Vancouver communities walked the full parade route, which was baking in the hot July sun. Residents carrying brightly coloured parasols mingled in the sweltering heat before the parade started. Once underway, residents celebrated the occasion in cool comfort, riding in the Tapestry bus which had been outfitted with festive banners exclaiming that all are welcome at Tapestry – and that love is both timeless and ageless.
Tapestry’s involvement in the parade was coordinated by Kevin and Natalie Wallace, Resident Services Manager at Wesbrook Village. Together, they established an organizing committee that pitched in to help make the event more meaningful and memorable.
All Vancouver employees were given PRIDE shirts to wear during the week leading up to the parade as a show of support for the 2SLGBTQAI+ communities and a reflection of Tapestry’s commitment to respect and honour each other with the underlying belief that we are stronger together.
“The joy we all felt on the parade route was amazing,” says Kevin. “We celebrated being together, which I think really enriches our communities. It was an incredibly proud moment for our residents and employees.”
Natalie Wallace couldn’t agree more. “It was a special day as we came together, residents and employees of all ages and backgrounds, to celebrate and unite in our support for the 2SLGBTQAI+ communities.”
It was clear the crowds were thrilled to see Tapestry participating in the lively event. As the bus travelled the packed route, crowds cheered to celebrate our participation, recognizing the powerful reflection of multi-generational representation supporting PRIDE and all that it stands for.
Martha, who is a resident at Arbutus Walk, was one of the residents who participated in Tapestry’s PRIDE parade contingent. She was so pleased to be part of this year’s event having previously marched in Vancouver PRIDE parades with her husband, who has now passed. “I was mightily pleased to ride in the Tapestry bus after several years of no PRIDE parades on account of that pesky COVID virus,” says Martha, who urges people to, “forget your brands and focus on inclusivity!”
Barbara, who is also a resident at Arbutus Walk, was delighted to be part of Tapestry’s PRIDE team. “The spectators’ reactions to seeing a retirement resident taking part in the Parade was heartwarming,” she says. “I am so pleased that my community was part of celebrating the parade and PRIDE month – what a wonderful adventure.”
Kevin credits Arbutus Walk’s General Manager, Danielle McQueen and Tiffany Whelan, Sales Director, for helping to bring this long-held dream to life. “They really supported and heard how important this was not just to me – but our entire company. They were so positive and encouraging which made all the difference to move this forward.”
Kevin is already looking forward to next year’s parade and has his eyes set on an even more spectacular presence. “We have to keep sending the message that all are very welcome and embraced as loving members of our community. Wouldn’t it be great if no one ever felt they had to ‘come out of the closet’ and that individuals focused on what unites us rather than divides us.”
Want to learn more about Tapestry and how we focus on creating a welcoming environment for all? Contact us to schedule a personalized tour of any one of our vibrant and engaged communities.