Vancouver’s worldwide reputation for diversity and inclusion becomes especially visible during the enormous Pride celebrations that occur at the end of July and first weekend of August.
This year will be the 39th annual Pride Parade and celebrations. The theme for 2017 is ‘My Pride,’ which according to the official Vancouver Pride Society website “[recognizes] that for each individual, Pride week can be a very unique personal experience with both celebratory and deeply emotional component.”
This year we have Vancouver’s very first all ages Pride dance! Prance on the Pier will start at 5pm on August 2nd in The Shipyards at 25 Wallace Mews in North Vancouver. There will be food, games, drag performances, and much more! This is an all ages, family friendly, and free event for folks who want to celebrate pride and dance the night away.
The West End is the home of Davie Street, where the gay and LGBTQ2+ subculture and community thrive. On the Friday before Pride weekend Davie Street is closed off from Burrard all the way to Jervais for the Davie Street Party. This year’s Davie Street Party is on August 4th from 6 pm until midnight; there will be vendors, performers, art installations, two stages, and the infamous Silent Disco. Davie Street is also home to many fantastic restaurants and businesses which will be open during Davie Street Party.
On August 5th the Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast begins at 8 am. It will be in the Jim Deva Plaza next to the famous rainbow crosswalks at Davie and Bute Street. It is a by donation community breakfast honouring one of the founders of pride in Vancouver. He is remembered as a warm and friendly individual who worked hard to keep the Pride Parade afloat in the beginning. Terry Wallace managed the old Castle Pub and he was the backbone of Pride parade during the 1980s and 90s. Wallace and fellow bar owner Garry Penny, along with board member for Pride Community Foundation Rob Atkinson, all managed to pull together the very first parade in less than 3 months.
And finally Pride week ends off with the famous Vancouver Pride Parade on August 6th. The parade starts at 12pm at Robson St. and Bute in Downtown Vancouver, proceeding west on Robson St. to Denman St., then south to Beach Ave., ending at Sunset Beach. Vancouver’s Pride Parade is known as one of the biggest in the world and reportedly has around half a million attendees every year. Last year the parade had special guest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau march alongside various community, independent, and corporate groups. It is 3 hours of rainbows and music, and where one can see the diversity of the LGBTQ2+ community and its allies.
While the parade is marching along there will be a large Pride Festival at Sunset beach. There will be various food and merchandise vendors, a large stage with different performers and all sorts of fun activities.
Vancouver`s Pride Parade started as a protest against the oppression, discrimination, and marginalization of the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver. Vancouver is lucky to be able to celebrate its LGBTQ2+ community and have one of the largest Pride Parades in the world.
Amongst the glee, glitter, and gaiety there`s an important history still being made. It is important to remember that LGBTQ2+ folks are still being discriminated against for their various identities and Pride is an important part of recognizing the experiences of LGBTQ2+ folks. Pride celebrations are an important statement for declaring and celebrating the existence of LGBTQ2+ folks. Vancouver and Vancouverites are fortunate in being able to proudly fly the rainbow flag because many are unable to.