The Best of the Vancouver Pride Celebration
If you had any doubts about Vancouver's progressive and diversity-friendly attitude, the 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 in 2014, and read our guide below for a recap of the best of 2013's Vancouver Pride celebration. *The 2013 Pride Parde and Festival is now over. Check back for more information as we near the 2014 Pride Parade and Festival set to take centre stage on Sunday, August 3rd, with various festival events, parties and more taking place in the weeks leading up to the big date!*
2013 Parade Events
Vancouver's Pride Week 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.
New in 2013
Vancouver White Caps Vs. Seattle Sounders
July 6, 2013
Celebrate Pride with Vancouver's own Major League Soccer team, the Vancouver Whitecaps. Pre-game dinner options available with partial proceeds donated to support LGBT Pride celebrations in Metro Vancouver.
Pride Run & Walk
July 27, 2013
The 30th annual event organized by Vancouver's Front Runners will offer a 5k/10k run/walk along a scenic waterfront route.
City of Vancouver Proclamation
July 29, 2013
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.
Fireworks over Pride - The Keg Lounge
Sport a spot of pink when you check out the hottest location to view the fireworks during the Honda Celebration of Light during Vancouver Pride.See and be seen when you take in the cool lounge vibe, savour and sip delicious offerings, and enjoy live art, performances, DJs and the pyrotechnic main event.
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.
2013 Dates & Notes
- Pride Parade starts at 12pm
- Pride Movie Night - Not present in 2013
- East Side Pride - June 29
- Gay Day at Playland - July 13 - Moved from its historical location next to the Flume Water Ride, to the Lagoon at the PNE.
- Picnic in the Park - July 27
- Barefoot Davie Street Pride Party - New name: Davie Street Dance Party - August 2
- Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast - August 3
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: August 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.