Gay couple puts ring on it at Festival’s Pride night 2 years after meeting there

A gay couple blazed a new trail at Festival du Voyageur this weekend, as one man asked another to get hitched.

Mitchel Nicholas shocked his partner Lucas Lamoureux when he proposed to him on stage Friday night in front of family and friends at the festival’s third annual Pride event.

“Not only does Lucas have a really great beard but he also has many other great qualities as well,” Nicholas said.

“I’m so happy I spent my last two years of my life with you … and I have only one question to ask you.” Then he pulled out a little black box and kneeled down on one knee as the crowd cheered him on.

“Will you marry me?”

It became the historic French carnival’s first same-sex marriage proposal, as far as organizers know.

A video posted to Instagram by Festival du Voyageur shows Nicholas boasting his love for Lamoureux.

Watch Mitchel Nicholas propose to his partner Lucas Lamoureux: Mitchel Nicholas shocked his partner Lucas Lamoureux when he proposed to him on stage during the beard competition at Festival du Voyageur’s Pride 2020 event this weekend. 0:49

“It was a surprise,” Nicholas said. “Lucas had no idea, even until the moment of, he still had no idea.”

The proposal took place at the same spot the two men met in 2018, when their friend — the festival’s organizer — threw the festival’s inaugural Pride night.

“It was very special for us,” Nicholas said.

A shocking celebration of diversity

At first, Lamoureux said he was so involved in all the action going on around him that he didn’t realize what was happening. “As soon as I saw the box … I was like ‘Oh!'”

Then he started crying. “It was very emotional,” Lamoureux said.

It means a lot to him, as part of the LGBTQ community, to take part in public celebrations in honour of his rights, Nicholas said.

“Having an event like this where we have representation like that, it just makes it feel a lot safer,” he said. “It makes Winnipeg feel more inclusive as a whole.”

Celebrating different cultures and diversity is already a part of Festival, so a Pride-specific event involving people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, and their allies, naturally fits into the scene.

“Having all these spaces where we then celebrate all that stuff makes us all more equal. Because if we can just all be in the same space, then it’s just happy and friendly,” Nicholas said.

Festival’s executive director Darrel Nadeau said inclusion of Francphone drag queens and musicians from the LGBTQ community under its tents is important. “We want everybody to feel welcome at Festival. And part of that is the voyageur Pride night that was created.”

Executive director Darrel Nadeau says Festival du Voyageur came up with Pride night in 2018 to celebrate diversity among Francophones at Fort Gibraltar. (Marouane Refak/CBC)

An artist who is a drag queen from Quebec even joined the celebration.

“It is a very powerful message,” Nicholas said, adding that it’s exciting to be a part of history in the making — by bringing a modern twist to Festival.

In 2005, Canada became the first country outside of Europe to legalize same-sex marriage.

“History brings us to where we are today. Without it, we wouldn’t be here,” Nicholas said.

Put a ring on it

With a new shiny ring on his finger, Lamoureux agreed it’s nice to look back and rejoice.

“We get to celebrate French music. We get to do some jigging, [have] good food — a lot of poutine,” Lamoureux said. “It’s fun.”

The two had been talking about marriage since their first encounter at Fort Gibraltar.

“And I think we just kind of always knew it would be here because it was such a moment meeting each other,” Nicholas said.

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