Photo credit: Michael Song
Guide To Pride
Vancouver's progressive and diversity-friendly attitude goes on vibrant display at the annual 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 inclusivity and the freedom to love who you want, and to be who you are fiercely and openly.
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 2017.
2017 Parade Events (Sunday, August 6th and week prior)
Through sparkling sun or sprinkling rain, the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival paints the city with rainbow hues. Celebrating its 39th anniversary in 2017, the free and inclusive festival reflects the spirit of the LGBTQ2+ 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, culminating in the Pride Parade on Sunday, August 6th. The days leading up to the parade and festival are usually packed with spectacular events that are officially part of the fabulous Pride fun. Although this year’s events are yet to be announced, examples include the East Side Pride family friendly event in Grandview Park near Commercial Drive; Gay Day at Playland in the Pacific National Exhibition fairgrounds; Picnic in the Park at Stanley Park; Davie Street Dance Party for revellers right in the middle of the West End’s Davie Street Village; and the Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast honouring the Vancouver Pride Society’s founder.
Naturally, the enthusiasm of Pride runs rampant throughout the city as unofficial celebrations take place in and around Vancouver. Visit the official Pride Society website to learn more about events such as evening cruises, cabaret shows, parties, BBQs, and much more.
The Main Events: The Parade & Festival (Sunday, August 6th)
Vancouver Pride events exude a sense of excitement and expectation leading up to the main event, the Pride Parade. Although this year’s events have not been announced, this is what to expect based on previous years:
The parade route has recently been extended to central downtown, beginning on Robson Street at Thurlow Street, 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. 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.
At 1:00 p.m. the levity is temporarily quieted for a traditional moment of silence as tribute to predecessors who fought for LGBTQ2+ equal rights, those who are no longer able to celebrate Pride, and LGBTQ2+ people around the world who remain in various states of oppression.
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, swim in the ocean, and frolic in the festive atmosphere.
Where to Find Out More
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 LGBTQ2+ literature, provides sales for ticketed Pride events.
Where to stay
Vancouver has plenty of lodging. Click here for TAG-approved (Travel Alternatives Group) hotels that meet LGBTQ2+ standards and criteria.