Are Rainbow Crosswalks the ticket to re-election? Mayor seems to think so

By Pepper

August 11th, 2021



It must be a slow day for the crew in the City’s Communications unit – the Rainbow Crosswalks are being flogged again.  Read on.

City of Burlington Council wants more rainbow crosswalks, plus benches and banners, to show support for 2SLGBTQIA+ Community
At the June 22, 2021 Burlington City Council meeting, council voted to fund three more rainbow crosswalks this year. They will also consider installing three more rainbow crosswalks during the 2022 budget, and the potential for additional crosswalks in 2023.

Council requested more information to launch a rainbow bench and street flag program by the end of this year as well.
This May, over 4000 individuals completed a Rainbow Crosswalk Survey to let City staff know they were in favour of more rainbow crosswalks throughout Burlington in support of Burlington’s 2SLGBTQIA+ (TwoSpirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) Community. As result of the survey, the City will implement six additional Pride rainbow crosswalks, using pre-established criteria, by the end of 2022, based on input from the community survey.

It was the first and it was a good move – Burlington needed to make the statement. Others could and should follow – at a reasonable rate.

Pride Rainbow Crosswalks
Council has approved up to $50,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund for the installation of the first three rainbow crosswalks in 2021. The survey asked the community to choose their top six locations from a list developed in consultation with council members and members of the former rainbow crosswalk team. City staff reviewed the six locations and have determined that the following 3 locations will be implemented by the end of 2021:

Upper Middle Road at M.M. Robinson school entrance
Fairview Street and Drury Lane
Plains Road West and Botanical Drive

Pride Rainbow Benches

The Councillor Bench Program will be considered for Pride rainbow themed benches this year as well. Staff are expected to present options this fall. This program could potentially allow for one bench per ward in a location chosen by the ward councillor.

Pride Rainbow Banners
The Street Banner Program will also be looked at to include Pride rainbow themed banners along major streets in Burlington. Staff have been asked to report back to council on options, locations, cost and funding source.

The City of Burlington installed its first rainbow crosswalk last summer on Lakeshore Road at the base of Burlington Avenue.

These rainbow crosswalks, benches and banners will be important features and key landmarks geographically and socially for the city.
Burlington is city where people, nature and businesses thrive. City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at and download the free City of Burlington app.

The Rainbow Crosswalks is an issue dear to the Mayor’s heart.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is standing firm on her decision saying: “We’ve heard directly from you how important it is to show visible signs of support and inclusion to our 2SLGBTQIA+ community. With three crosswalks coming this year, and consideration for three more next year as part of our 2022 budget, we can provide at least one in every Ward, to spread the message of inclusion across our city.

“I’d like to thank the more than 4,200 people who took time to complete our survey, and those who reached out to my office by email and social media, supporting these crosswalks and selecting your top six preferred locations — many of which are around schools. Through this process, we’ve learned it’s extremely important to show a strong level of support for young people who may be struggling. You told us that a visual display of support from your City and your Council near your school goes a long way. We listened!”

Related news story:

Council isn’t united on this one

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12 comments to Are Rainbow Crosswalks the ticket to re-election? Mayor seems to think so

  • Rika Simmons

    Very very disappointed in your proposal to put pride colours on some major crossings. Why do we give this community sooo much attention. We have families in need of funds, shelter, food etc. Also seniors who are struggling because if their income and Covid locked in their apartments. We then spend OUR hard earned money on painting Rainbow Crosswalks that will need maintenance etc. I think it is quite disgusting and not a lot of thought put into it Your readers especially Mozelle Cole couldn’t have said it better. As we had no input don’t you think by the negative responses you are getting that it should be reconsidered.

  • Melvyn Gallagher

    I voted for you, and if you keep doing what you are doing, wasting our money trying to get more votes, you may get a few more, but you will lose a lot more. Please use what got you into office.
    There are many more causes where you can use our money such as, food banks and the people without housing. These are just two of the many, I’m sure there are many more which you could put the $50,000 to.

  • Mozelle Cole

    I have attached a link in response to George King’s question. Councillors Stolte, Sharman and Kearns did not vote in favour. Please view the video of the meeting.

    Crosswalks (6) – $10,000 each and when they get dirty … re-paint
    Benches (6) – $5,000 each (real estate agents/residents memorial plaque pay this)
    Banners – to be determined
    Fire truck(s) – no figure
    Parade downtown Burlington as proposed by our mayor – thousands for police presence
    Pride Day flags – hundreds given out at Spencer Smith Park (Canada Day flags denied)

    The Liberal party (Justin) has funded the Toronto pride parade for the past two years. However, due to COVID, there hasn’t been a parade. Where is this money going. Maybe the pride organization can pay the City of Burlington for their advertising, similar to what real estate agents and everyone else does. Revenue for us. This council is running a business (our business with our taxes), not a charitable organization. For those who are not familiar with the bench program – here is the deal: Each councillor gets a $5,000.00 bench to put wherever they chose in their ward. What MMW proposes is to paint the rainbow flag on them (FREE). If there is a problem, is a bench or crosswalk going to do the trick? So three councillors don’t have a choice, unless we say something.
    We are in a pandemic. People are starving. Kids don’t know which way is up. Businesses have been forced into bankruptcy. Seniors are starving. Four of our councillors are not just spending money, but months of discussion on crosswalks. Is this just for the next election? When is this mode of operation going to stop?

    The HCDSB has been in business in this city for decades. Because they chose not to fly a flag (Charter of Rights and Freedoms) these four councillors wish to spite this organization and paint a flag outside their front door. WITH MY/OUR MONEY. This is not the way Burlington people behave. We respect choices. Because they sent out a survey and received an “overwhelming” response immediately from 4000 people, we go ahead? Are these people from Burlington? Are they taxpayers or kids? Some I understand voted more than once. Burlington population is currently approximately 200000.

    Let’s get a proper survey out to ALL that says “Do the taxpayers of Burlington wish to spend XXX on benches, flags, fire trucks, parades, banners, crosswalks at this time?”
    Do not insinuate that the councillors who did not vote in favour, or the rest of us who wish to pay the bills off first, are homophobic.

    I have few regrets in my life, one of which is voting for Marianne and encouraging my family and friends to do the same.

  • perryb

    I was surprised to see the latest permutation of inclusivity symbols in this article (2SLGB….+). While I am fully in favour of demonstrations of support for people struggling to find their identity, there is a danger of going to extremes to include more and more subsets until everyone finds their own personal home. And let’s not forget there is another axis of identity being explored these days based on race, heritage, language and age. At some point our whole view of our society becomes a jumble of alphanumeric compartments that render it meaningless, while activists in each group clamor for special attention. Thus we become divided, not united.

  • Judy G

    I Totally disagree with the rainbow sidewalks.

  • We also have a pier that has had illegal barriers to the view for those in wheelchairs etc.which they refuse to spend a penny to provide viewing areas. Thd law requires these barriers removed. In fact it was built under the Navigation Act which required it to be compliant with all legislation. If there is money for luxury rainbow crosswalks there should be money to share the view from the pier. Maybe its time to have the city address this one with the federal human rights tribunal.

  • Phillip Wooster

    Let me say at the outset that I think the HCDSB was wrong to not fly the Pride flag–inclusivity and tolerance should be Christian values and they are certainly values that Canadians need to promote in 2021 and beyond.

    However, placing the Pride crosswalk in front of the Head Office of the HCDSB is confrontational, petty and divisive. It will only serve to invite a backlash and harden attitudes. Continued dialogue is far more constructive than this “in-your-face” approach. I am very disappointed that MMW lowered herself to allow this to happen, although I suspect she will not accept responsibility and deflect to “the community voted for it” (even though only about 2% of the community was interested in the survey). With each passing day, I continue to regret my decision to vote for MMW in the last municipal election.

    • David Barker

      I read your first paragraph and immediately thought “What’s happened to the Philip Wooster we all know and love” LOL.

      Then I read the second and third paragraphs and realized he is still there.

      You surprised me in saying that you, an ultra royal blue individual, would ever have voted for someone as “pinkish” as the Mayor. LOL

      • Phillip Wooster

        Barker, just to clarify, in the last municipal election, the choice was between MMW and Goldring. Goldring’s performance in the previous 4 years was less than stellar, leading me to vote for MMW, despite several misgivings. While my expectations for MMW were relatively low, she has consistently underachieved. I know I am not alone in that assessment. Todate, her mayoralty has been characterized by a penchant for “tax and spend”, virtue-signaling, and an unwillingness to consider alternative policies other than her own. However, I learn from my mistakes and will actively campaign against her in the next municipal election–we can only hope that a strong alternative emerges.

    • Howard

      Agreed Phillip. I do not have the time of day for this passive aggressive approach orchestrated by the mayor. She created the survey (not staff). Now there are 2 rainbow crosswalks in Ward 2 and not one of them is in front of city hall. She will hide behind the survey results but we all know what her goal was.

  • There is 50,000.00 taken from Reserve Funds for this nonsense but nothing spent to let the marginalized residents know where or how to get to the cooling stations. Facebook and Twitter just don’t work for those who probably have no access to a computer or a Facebook or Twitter account.

    Where is Shawna Stolte on this issue?