Vancouver is, in my opinion, a great city to visit at any time of year. The sights and events in the city are always worth the trip, but even so, the buzz in the city sometimes gets a bad rap in comparison to, say, Toronto. This is certainly not the case when Pride is in town, and whatever your persuasion, the Pride events over the summer can be full of fun.
What’s on for Pride
The highlight of Vancouver Pride is the annual parade, but this is by no means the only thing going on in the city in relation to Pride. On different dates throughout late July and early August, Pride events take place at various venues downtown. Some of these events require tickets, such as the Legacy Awards with its related silent auction. There are also, however, plenty of free events, and whether you happen to be gay or just gay-friendly, the Pride Run and Walk, followed by a picnic in Stanley Park, is a lively event. In 2013, the event will take place on July 27th, and I can hardly think of a better way of spending a sunny summer’s day in Vancouver than with a picnic and a social buzz like the one that’s around at this time. Similarly, the raising of the flag for Pride Week, on the lawn at the City Hall on July 29th, is an open event that is likely to draw a lot of attention.
Although Vancouver is a gay-friendly city at all times of year, Pride Week is the peak, and the Pride Pavilion at the Central Library on Georgia Street provides a natural focus for anyone seeking information on the most up-to-date news concerning the scheduales.
Parties and parade
Pride Weekend is a time that I certainly like to be in the city, to see the full richness of diversity. There are, apparently, more visitors than inhabitants in Vancouver when it comes to Pride. This adds extra flavor to, for example, the Davie Street Party, which has both an all-ages area and a zone especially for ages 19 and upwards. Davie Village then also hosts a fund-raising breakfast to follow up on the party festivities.
The jewel in the crown, however, is the parade, which takes place on the same day as the festival and market. The festival opens on Sunset Beach an hour before the parade and goes on afterwards with music and performances. The parade itself is not to be missed, as it is one of the biggest in the world, and the 2013 parade, on August 4th, will mark the 35th anniversary of Vancouver Pride. The parade starts off on Robson Street and ends up at the festival site on Sunset Beach. The parade is judged, and if, like me, you get a kick out of competition, it can be fun to guess the winner yourself. The parade now has civic status in Vancouver and is a valued part of the city’s calendar, in recognition of the vibrancy of the event at an international level.