Part protest, part celebration, Pride has been taking the main stage across the globe this year, particularly due to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
And despite how political the movement has become in recent years, there is still a lot to celebrate, especially if you live in Vancouver. There are so many events happening now through Aug. 4, it’s impossible to list them all — and pretty much impossible to attend them all — but here are a few highlights to choose from.
Picnic in the Park is back and this year will be hosted by Josh Rimer, Mr. Gay Canada 2019. This is a fun, family and pet-friendly picnic that takes place after the Pride Run & Walk. Highlights of the picnic include, drag queen races, the Teddy Bear Picnic — bring your teddies and blankets and grab food from a food truck or pack your own, story time with children's author Carol Thompson, an inflatable hockey game with the Vancouver Canucks and more.
Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza
While this seven-hour party circles the art gallery, you can dance at two stages or in the Silent Disco, grab a beverage in the outdoor licensed area, take in drag and dance performances, enjoy a bite at a food truck and have fun checking out vendors and community resources.
Get freaky and fabulous at the Vancouver Aquarium after hours and keep the Pride Week vibes going strong with a night of amazing entertainment. Leave the kids with a sitter, dress in your finest drag and let loose with your partner and pals as you explore the galleries with a drink in hand. And if that doesn’t convince you, guests can also learn what sex positions a shark prefers during the “shocking aquatic sex talks.”
Curated by Paul Wong
7 to 11 p.m.
Enjoy a one-night only, magical twilight event Aug. 1, in a spectacular setting in the heart of Vancouver’s historical Chinatown. This very special event takes over the courtyard of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Classical Chinese Garden. Pride in Chinatown celebrates queer Asian-Canadian art and artists in ways that promise to “tantalize all five senses.”
Artist in residence Paul Wong describes Pride in Chinatown as a momentous and historical festival for LGBTQ2+ people, their allies, friends and family and he wants to encourage them to be “out loud and proud in Chinatown.” The event is described as an “interdisciplinary art experience that will feature new experimental and traditional art forms, which include electronic music, immersive theatre, media art installations, lion dancing, martial arts, drums, opera, culinary treats, drag and other non-binary encounters.”
This second annual Pride at Parq gala is not only the biggest rooftop Pride party in the city, but also an opportunity to rub shoulders and exchange glitter with RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Kim Chi, Asia, Kameron and Season 10 winner Aquaria.
On Aug. 2, the queens will put on fierce performances in the resort’s gorgeous rooftop park and guests enjoy sunset views of False Creek, cocktails and bites from D/6 Bar & Lounge, and music spun by the house DJ while dancing the night away on the city’s most unique dance floor. Limited-edition creations designed specifically for Pride at Parq will be available to indulge in, including Parq’s Pride cake, back by popular demand. Limited tickets are on sale now.
Aug. 2 to 4
From August 2 to 4, the Vancouver Pride Society is creating a pedestrian promenade in Dave Village that includes a temporary extension of the city’s patio bylaw, which means more al fresco dining than ever. The promenade will also feature a new pop-up Pride Patio on Bute Street, across from Jim Deva Plaza. The promenade and patio were made a reality by way of federal funding. The $1 million funding is being divided between this year and 2020.
10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Portland, Oregon's Blowpony will be celebrating Pride north of the border at the Biltmore Cabaret with Queers with Class featuring Angelica D’Vil and CoCo Klein with DJs Airick X, Just Dave, G-Luve, Gogo’s Heatherette, Nikki Bunz, Charley Sharps, Vye, Deisel Dave, Brndn and Thomas.
Aug. 2, 3 & 4
CurliQue Beauty, the retail extension of Blanche Macdonald, will be doing in-store Pride-inspired makeup demonstrations, as well as offering a Lit gift with purchase of $30 during Vancouver Pride weekend. CurliQue Beauty, which is a salon, studio, gallery space and events venue, invites all to come down and experience their in-store activities.
Jim Deva Plaza
8 a.m. to noon
Enjoy a pancake breakfast buffet in Jim Deva Plaza to commemorate one of the Vancouver Pride Society’s original founders, Terry Wallace. Breakfast is provided by Your Independent Grocer and the cost is by donation.
Terry Wallace, who died in 2004, was manager of the Castle Pub and raised money through the pub's 50/50 draws and pull-tab machines to help fund the Pride Parade through years of financial uncertainty. This is a great family (of all kinds) event and what I consider one of the highlights of Pride.
Show your colours and join Barre Belle at its Kitsilano studio for a barre-inspired sweaty session taught by the fabulous Sean Def. This class will have you dancing and sweating your way into the weekend. The class is by donation with proceeds dedicated to support QMUNITY. To reserve a spot, visit barrebelle.ca.
Begins on Robson Street at Thurlow, moves west to Denman, south to Pacific Avenue and finishes at Sunset Beach
11 a.m. to ? (It always just depends how long the parade is.)
You can expect colourful commentary from Conni Smudge (Robson and Denman), Caryl Dolink (Denman and Nelson) and Joan-E (Denman and Davie) along the parade route.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
You can hit the festival after the parade, or if you’d like to stake your space on the beach early, get there at 11 a.m. Enjoy live entertainment, DJs, food, drinks, the Family Zone, Vendor Village and more. New this year is the Oasis Zone, which will offer a safe space for queer-centric recovery, information and supplies for safer partying, a lower-traffic area to hang out and rest with friends under shaded picnic tables or pick up information on harm reduction and recovery so you’re equipped to make safer choices during Pride and the rest of the year.
On that note, visit Karmik to pick up safer partying supplies or ask questions about drug use and safety in a judgement-free space. The Community Zone features booths from community partners who work year-round to advance human rights and support local communities. But after all that “adulting,” there’s also music, dancing and a newly expanded, shaded lounge space on the grass near the water where you can purchase a drink and party.
This popular Davie Street lounge celebrates Pride every day, but it’s really ramping it up July 30 to Aug. 5 with special events, including an all-day dance party Aug. 4 celebrating the Pride Parade. 1181 is also hosting special Pride events, including Latin-inspired nights and drag shows featuring local talent. You don’t need a ticket for these events, but there’s a $5 cover with partial proceeds donated to a number of local LGBTQTS+ charities and organizations.