As one of the most diverse destinations in Canada—and indeed, the world—it’s no wonder that Vancouver has such a thriving LGBTQ2+ scene. Vancouver Pride began as a low-key demonstration in 1978 and has since evolved to become one of the most popular across North America, now including more than 20 official events and attracting over 700,000 visitors every single year.
This year, the Vancouver Pride theme is 50 years and still fighting, with 2019 marking the 50th year since Bill C-150 was passed, which ‘decriminalised’ private homosexual acts between consenting adults across Canada.
In this blog post, we’ll share some of this year’s most exciting events, so whether you fancy joining the parade celebrations, or kicking back and relaxing with friends in gorgeous Sunset Beach, if you’re planning on booking your flights to Vancouver this summer, you can get ready to celebrate Pride in style.
Pride Run & Walk/Picnic in the Park – 21st July
Hosted by Vancouver Frontrunners, Pride Run & Walk is an annual event which raises money for charities Out in Schools and the LOUD Foundation’s
Pride Youth Scholarships. The event welcomes runners of all abilities, with some competing and some running just for fun—either with friends or as part of a team in fancy dress! The race starts at 9 am and finishes at 11 am, just in time for the Picnic in the Park at Second Beach (located along the Stanley Park Seawall). Formerly known as the ‘Teddy Bear Picnic’, this event has been running for several years, praised for being one of the first accepting outdoor spaces for LGBTQ2+ community members to gather.
Pride Premiere – 26th July
What better way to celebrate Vancouver Pride than with a 7-hour party circling the magnificent Vancouver Art Gallery? At the Pride Premiere, there will be plenty of opportunities to dance at multiple stages, grab a refreshing drink in the plaza beer garden, or visit the market and learn more about the incredible organizations supporting LGBTQ2+ communities across the city. It might be fast approaching, but there’s still time to book your last minute flights to Vancouver!
Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast – 3rd August
Each year, locals head into the heart of Davie Village—home to the city’s largest LGBTQ2+ scene—for a by-donation community breakfast. This event honours Terry Wallace, one of the biggest contributors to Vancouver Pride, who sadly died in 2004 and is remembered fondly by Vancouver locals. Give what you can and help yourself to everything at the buffet, including a traditional Canadian breakfast of fresh pancakes coated with deliciously sweet maple syrup. After the breakfast, you can also stick around for the Saige Community Food Bank Fundraiser BBQ and Pride Fair, where you can help raise funds for the food bank’s new van.
Pride Parade – 4th August
Taking place on the first Sunday in August, the Pride Parade is, without doubt, the season’s biggest and most colourful event. The route is around 4 km and lasts just over an hour, stretching from the corner of Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver, before continuing south down Denman Street and finishing at Sunset Beach. Expect to see marching bands, rainbow-coloured floats and plenty of wild and wonderful costumes. We recommend arriving early for the optimal viewing spot and avoiding heavy traffic, either by walking or taking public transport.
Sunset Beach Festival – 4th August
After the Pride Parade, many people head to the Sunset Beach Festival for an afternoon and/or evening of fun and entertainment. Featuring live music, drag performances, interactive art, a beer garden and food trucks, this free event attracts people of all ages and even has its own dedicated zone for families. There will also be a Pride Market at the festival with vendors selling various products. The event kicks off at 11 am, so if you’d rather avoid the crowds of the Pride Parade, feel free to arrive early and spend the whole day beside the water. The ultimate way to relax!
Looking for flights to Vancouver? You can fly direct from London, Manchester and Glasgow, making it easy to discover Canada’s stunning west coast.