Speaking of going corporate, after years of setting up in the Pride Week marketplace, community-focused Alterna Savings (formerly the Metro Credit Union) has been asked by Pride organizers to pack up its money bags. An exclusivity clause in a sponsorship agreement with TD Canada Trust has led to Alterna's not-so-gracious exit. Pride executive director Fatima Amarshi explains that, well, business is business and the TD sponsorship was an all-or-nothing proposition.
" NOW is one of our media sponsors, and it would be like having another Toronto-based weekly magazine," she says. "That wouldn't be conducive to NOW supporting us."
Well, maybe. But besides NOW, the Toronto Star is a sponsor of Pride events, as is gay mag Xtra. Each has its niche. So did Alterna before it got the boot. It did its thing in the Marketplace, while TD backs everything from the North Stage to floats in the parade. Has Pride's talk of inclusiveness given in to the power of the almighty dollar?
Nobody NOW interviewed is going that far, but TD community relations manager Al Ramsay makes it sound like TD is intent on cornering the Pride market.
He mentions that the bank is a leading supporter of the Pride volunteer program, and that negotiations are under way to extend its overall sponsorship deal for several more years.
There's no ill feeling on Alterna's part, says spokesperson Robyn Hall. But there's no doubt a sour taste left by not having deep enough pockets - at least not Bay Street deep - to buy a ticket to the big party.
"We're disappointed because [the event] is important to our members," he says.