PrideHouse Toronto have launched an educational outreach programme titled "The PrideHouse That Kids Built" in elementary schools across the Province of Ontario as they attempt to promote inclusion in sport ahead of this year’s Pan American and Parapan Games in the city.
The project developed by PrideHouse Toronto in partnership with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario features nine short stories which aim to spark discussion surrounding the inclusion of people of different ethnicities and cultures, disabilities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
Canada’s Minister for Education Liz Sandals was joined by Toronto 2015 mascot Pachi and Olympian Rosie Cossar to launch the initiative at Rose Avenue Junior Public School on The Day of Pink, an annual Canadian anti-bullying day.
Cossar, who competed for Canada in rhythmic gymnastics at the London 2012 Olympics, came out as a lesbian in last December and has been a strong advocate of achieving greater inclusion ahead of the Pan American and Parapan Games.
She joined elementary students in a story-telling session before participating in the second part of the project in which cardboard "bricks" or panels are be decorated with messages supporting inclusion by students.
In addition to facilitating discussion and encouraging students to learn more about issues surrounding inclusion, the panels will be ultilised during the Toronto 2015 Games.
Schools from across the Province will submit the decorated panels, which will be transformed by professional artists Kalpna Patel and Sean Martindale into a unique art installation at a location which will receive a vast number of visitors throughout the duration of the multi-sport events.
The art installation continues PrideHouse Toronto’s drive at ensuring the Pan American Games are the most inclusive Games in history for LGBTQ athletes, coaches, trainers, spectators and visitors.
PrideHouse Toronto have already outlined plans to create a live street site during each weekend of the Games titled “PrideHouse Celebrates!" which will include stage shows, sports and games play, and licensed gardens
Additionally, PrideHouse Toronto have also unveiled ambassadors who are promoting LGBTQ inclusion in sport through panel discussions, sports days and film nights.