Photo credit: Michael Song
Guide To Pride
Vancouver's progressive and diversity-positive 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 2018.
2018 Parade Events (Sunday, August 5th, and week prior)
Through sparkling sun or sprinkling rain, the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival paints the city with rainbow hues. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018, 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 5th. The days and weeks leading up to the parade and festival are always packed with spectacular events that are officially part of the fabulous Pride fun. This year's events have yet to be annouced, but if it's like last year you can expect events like East Side Pride, a family friendly event in Grandview Park near Commercial Drive; Picnic in the Park at Stanley Park; 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, sober events, youth dances, and much more.
The Main Events: The Parade & Festival (Sunday, August 5th, 2018)
Vancouver Pride events exude a sense of excitement and expectation leading up to the main event, the Pride Parade. The parade route marches right through 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 that are all kinds of floats, dancers, marching groups, performances, 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 range from show-stoppingly outrageous to personal expressions of pride, to just people being their own fabulous selves and loving it.
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.