The Best of the Vancouver Pride Celebrations
Any doubts about Vancouver's progressive and diversity-friendly attitude, will sincerely be put to rest by the Vancouver Pride Parade celebrations. 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 ever.
Last year's Pride included more than 650,000 participants from all walks of life. This year is expected to be just as exciting. If you are interested in taking part in Vancouver's most visually thrilling and rainbow-bedecked spectacle of the year, plan to make it to this feel-good festival in 2015.
2015 Parade Events (Exact dates TBD)
Through sparkling sun or sprinkling rain, the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival paints the city with rainbow hues. Celebrating its 37th anniversary in 2015, free and inclusive, the festival reflects the spirit of the LGBT community and reminds us that Pride is for everyone. Pride's diverse events are united by the critical message that individual uniqueness should be celebrated.
Vancouver's Pride Week has plenty of events for those seeking to join the festivities. Pride week runs July 27th - August 3rd, 2015. The days leading up to the parade and festival are packed with spectacular events that are officially part of the fabulous Pride fun. Here's a rundown of 2014's pride events:
East Side Pride
This family-friendly event at East Vancouver's Grandview Park features 30 artisan booths and an eclectic mix of live music on the festival stage.
Location: Grandview Park
Gay Day at Playland
Ride the roller coasters, try the 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 19 will be donated to the Vancouver Pride Society. Don't forget to wear your pink shirts to support anti-bullying, GayDay style!
Location: Pacific National Exhibition grounds - 2901 East Hastings Street
Picnic in the Park
Bring your family and friends to this picnic in Stanley Park for the official launch of Vancouver Pride 2014 - complete with games, live music and special performances by local actors.
Location: Stanley Park's Brockton Oval
Pride Run & Walk
This annual event, organized by Vancouver's Front Runners, will offer a 5k/10k run/walk along a scenic waterfront route.
Location: Stanley Park's Brockton Oval
Vancouver White Caps vs. Seattle Sounders
Celebrate Pride with Vancouver's own Major League Soccer team, Vancouver Whitecaps. Pre-game dinner options are available with partial proceeds donated to support LGBT Pride celebrations in Metro Vancouver.
Location: BC Place
City of Vancouver Proclamation
Vancouver Pride Week kicks off with a proclamation by the Mayor and Council at City Hall, with a flag raising ceremony on the north lawn.
Location: Vancouver City Hall North Lawn - 453 West 12th Avenue
Davie Street Dance Party
Dancers, drinkers and partiers converge in the heart of Davie Street Village 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+.
Location: Davie Street (between Burrard and Jervis Streets)
Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast
Volunteers flip and serve buttery pancakes at this celebration of the life of Terry Wallace (the founder of Vancouver Pride Society). Breakfast is by donation.
Location: Davie Street Plaza (The Rainbow Crosswalks)
Vancouver Pride Parade
The Vancouver Pride Parade begins on Robson Street, travels through the West End and finishes at the Sunset Beach Festival site. Showcasing colourful floats, rainbow-coloured balloons, fist-pumping music, vibrant dancers, and a heck of a party, it's no wonder the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival is one of Vancouver's can't-miss summer events!
Vancouver Pride Festival
More than 125,000 visitors and locals come together for the culmination of Pride Week celebrations at the Pride Festival at Sunset Beach. Highlights of this year's festival include live performances, a beachfront beer garden and the Pride Market (featuring 130 local artisans, small businesses and community organizations).
Location: Sunset Beach
Naturally, the enthusiasm of Pride runs rampant throughout the city as unofficial celebrations take place in and around 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 & Festival
Pride Parade: Sunday, August 2nd, 2015
Pride Festival: Sunday, August 2nd, 2015
Vancouver Pride events exude a sense of excitement and expectation leading up to the main event, the Pride Parade. The parade route has recently been extended to central downtown, beginning on Robson and Thurlow, 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 three-hour route. Prepare to be wowed, amazed 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 change.
At 1:00 p.m. the levity is temporarily quieted for a traditional moment of silence as 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.
One of the most memorable parts of the parade are the costumes, which are so elaborate and outrageous that they make a feather boa and go-go boots look tame.
Just when you think that 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 frolic in the festive atmosphere.
Where to Find Out More
Vancouver Pride Society - www.vancouverpride.ca
Follow the fabulousness on Twitter - @vancouverpride
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. Click here for TAG-approved (Travel Alternatives Group) hotels that meet gay-friendly standards and criteria.