The Best of the Vancouver Pride Celebration
If you had any doubts about Vancouver's progressive and diversity-friendly attitude, the 2012 Vancouver Pride Parade and celebration will heartily put them to rest. What started as a courageous and peaceful protest in 1978 has become one of the most grandiose, spirited and outspoken celebrations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride anywhere.
More than 650,000 participants from all walks of life turned out last year, and this year is expected to be as big if not bigger. So if you're interested in taking part in Vancouver's most visually exciting and rainbow-bedecked spectacle of the year, plan to make it to this feel-good festival, and read our guide below for enjoying the best of 2013's Vancouver Pride celebration.
Vancouver's Pride Week is a has plenty of events for those seeking to join in the festivities. Pride week runs July 29th - August 4th, 2013. The days leading up to the parade and festival are packed with fun events that are officially part of the fabulous Pride fun.
Events in previous years have included
East Side Pride - This family-friendly event at East Vancouver’s McSpadden Park features 30 artisan booths and an eclectic mix of live music on the festival stage.
Gay Day at Playland - Ride the roller coasters, try those heavenly mini-donuts and mingle at a private BBQ at this whimsical gay carnival. Aimed at young adults 25 and under, the event encourages LGBT youth and their families and friends to come out for a day to connect, meet the local community, and have fun in a safe and comfortable environment. Part of the proceeds of tickets purchased at the dedicated event gate on July 14 will be donated to Vancouver Pride Society. Admission is $28.50.
Picnic in the Park - Bring your family and friends to this picnic in Stanley Park, complete with games, live music and special performances by actors from Theatre Under the Stars.
Pride Movie Night - Snack on popcorn and cuddle up to your sweetie during a showing of Kinky Boots at the Denman Theatre.
Barefoot Davie Street Pride Party - Dancers, drinkers and partiers converge in the heart of Davie Street Village (Davie Street between Burrard and Jervis) for this electrifying nighttime street party that generates excitement and anticipation for the Pride Parade and Festival. This year’s event features a killer line-up of DJs guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. Participants must be 19 years or older.
Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast - Volunteers flip and serve buttery pancakes at the corner of Bute and Davie at this celebration of the life of Terry Wallace, the founder of Vancouver Pride Society. Breakfast is by donation.
Naturally, the enthusiasm of Pride runs rampant throughout the city, and unofficial celebrations also take place all over Vancouver. Visit the official Pride website
to learn more about events such as evening cruises, cabaret shows, parties, bbqs, and much more.
The Main Events: The Parade and Festival
Pride Parade: August 4th, 2013
Pride Festival: Augst 4th, 2013
Throughout the Vancouver Pride events, there is a sense of excitement and expectation leading up to the granddaddy event of them all: the Pride Parade. The parade route was recently extended to central downtown, beginning on Robson and Thurlow, then continuing through the West End on Denman Street to finish at the Sunset Beach Festival Site.
There are approximately 150 parade entries -- floats, dancers, marching groups and more -- that make for a constant stream of entertainment along the route for about three hours. Prepare to be wowed, shocked and inspired with sights such as four-foot-high headdresses, pink fire engines, more rainbow flags than you can count and signs conveying messages of hope and activism.
The levity is temporarily quieted for the traditional moment of silence, usually at 1pm, as a tribute to predecessors who fought for LGBT equal rights, those who are no longer able to celebrate Pride, and LGBT people around the world who remain in various states of oppression.
The most memorable part of the parade is always the costumes, which are so elaborate and outrageous that they make a feather boa and go-go boots look tame.
Just when you thought the celebration couldn't get any more jubilant, the parade is immediately followed by a giant waterfront bash -- the Sunset Beach Festival. About 125,000 people gather on Sunset Beach to listen to live music, browse vendor booths, kick back in the beer garden, take in sparkling views of English Bay and generally frolic in the festive atmosphere.
Where to find out more:www.vancouverpride.ca
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Where to get tickets:
Many Pride events are free (including the parade and Sunset Beach Festival). Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium, a famous bookseller in Davie Village specializing in LGBT literature, provides sales for ticketed Pride events.
Where to stay:
Vancouver has plenty of gay-friendly lodging. Search here for TAG-approved (Travel Alternatives Group) hotels that meet gay-friendly standards and criteria.