The ultimate guide to Vancouver Pride

June 22, 2017

by Tanya Fader

June is Pride Month in Canada, and some events have already occurred here and throughout the country – including the first ever raising of the rainbow Pride flag at Canadian Parliament in Ottawa – with still lots to come. All Vancouver events will take place on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

Be prepared for big crowds at many of these events, and be sure to pack water, sunscreen and your shiniest, most rainbow-laden garb. Don’t expect to get anywhere quickly on Pride weekend around the West End or Stanley Park, as more than one hundred thousand people are expected to attend, including kids in strollers and dogs wearing rainbow kerchiefs. Here’s a list of the most notable and fabulous events! [Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver]

The ultimate guide to Vancouver Pride

Cultural and community events

StandOUT! Awards
Hosted by Zain Meghji from Daily Hive (with food by celebrity chef, Jack Demers, from Chopped Canada), this awards ceremony honours individuals who have made longstanding and ongoing contributions to the Vancouver LGBTQ2+ community.

East Side Pride

Considered by many to be the true kick off of Vancouver Pride, this event takes place where the historical Stonewall Festival happened in the 1980s. This is a sober, family-friendly and accessible event with entertainment (which includes an ASL interpreter), a vendor village, bike polo demonstrations and salsa lessons.

  • When: Saturday June 24th at noon
  • Where: Grandview Park

The March on Pride

Hosted by Black Lives Matter Vancouver, this event is to recognize and protest police brutality against minority populations. Pet and kid-friendly, some uphill walking.

  • When: Sunday June 25th at 1 pm
  • Where: Emery Barnes Park to Jim Deva Plaza, ending in Alexandra Park

Pride weekend

Davie Street Party
This is a popular way to start off a weekend of festivities, when Davie Street shuts down to traffic between Burrard and Jervis for a night of outdoor DJs, dancing and meeting up with friends from Vancouver and visitors from all over the world. In the heart of the Village, it’s central to the city’s popular gay destinations and culinary spots along Davie and Denman Streets.

  • When: Friday August 4th from 6 pm to midnight
  • Where: Davie Village

Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast

Soak up your imbibing from the night before with delicious pancakes by donation. Join members of the Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society for food, camaraderie and the sacred Down Ceremony representing cleansing, blessings and peace.

  • When: Saturday August 5th at 8 am
  • Where: Jim Deva Plaza in Davie Village

14th Annual Vancouver Dyke March and Festival

Commercial Drive has long been home to much of Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community, particularly female and trans folks. Most businesses here, with a few historical exceptions, have been queer-friendly for decades and this event is sponsored by local businesses. Once the march lands at Grandview Park, enjoy an afternoon of food, live music and female empowerment while taking in the diverse culture of the Drive.

  • When: Saturday August 5th at 11:30 am (design this year’s march banner), march starts at noon
  • Where: March starts at McSpadden Park, festival is in Grandview Park

Sunset Beach Festival

Meet up with friends who deserted you to hook up the night before and plan your day. Hang out at the beer gardens, rest in the grass to listen to the music, and use your Pride allowance money to purchase specialty items from the vendors. Wander down to the beach, take a dip in the ocean, play pitch and putt or tennis in Stanley Park or just relax in the atmosphere of celebrating inclusive love.

  • When: Sunday August 6th at 11 am
  • Where: Sunset Beach

39th Annual Pride Parade

Show up early to catch the traditional opening ride of Dykes on Bikes, as they show off their leather, denim and hot motorcycle prowess. Then watch all the groups and individuals marching in the parade (as well as 150 floats), lighting up the route with glitter, rainbows, music and dancing. Take a moment to appreciate the sacrifices and progress made (original marchers had to wear paper bags over their faces), while recognizing how much work still needs to be done here and abroad. The parade is not just for the gays anymore – thousands of straight allies and curious onlookers join the mix – everyone with love in their hearts is welcome. If it’s sunny and hot, try to get lucky by getting wet, courtesy of the Vancouver Fire Department.

  • When: Sunday August 6th at noon
  • Where: Starts at Robson and Thurlow

Pride parties for all

Celebrities Nightclub
Little compares to Pride week in Vancouver – it’s like queer Mardi Gras! The most iconic dance club in Vancouver – originally a gay-only venue at the head of the Davie Village – is now a destination for anyone that’s looking for a night of mind-blowing sound and visual entertainment. Celebrities is hosting several nights of Pride events from a Lady Gaga after party, Bingo 4 Life, Genderbent, Bowie Thursday and hours of DJ music in two rooms concluding with the “best butt” contest.

Chicas Post-Parade Legendary Garden Party

This fun in the sun garden party was created by Flygirl Productions to give queer women a premier Pride event among the male-dominated Pride celebration party scene. Though the venue changes, they always include a mix of outdoor and indoor dance floors and lounge areas. This year’s location hasn’t been announced yet, but the last couple of years have been at the Sheraton Wall Centre, so keep checking the Flygirl website and emails for updates. This event always sells out quickly. Feel free to wear your sexiest beach garb or dress to the nines, part of this event’s appeal is that it starts directly following the parade (and is within walking distance), and leaves the late night free for attendance at other events and night clubs.

  • When: Sunday August 6th in the afternoon/evening
  • Where: To be announced

Check out these queer and queer-friendly spaces, which will no doubt have Pride events too.

Happy Pride!

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