The Lower Mainland celebrates its LGBTQ+ communities with gay Pride-themed events in Vancouver, North Vancouver, New West, Surrey, Whistler and elsewhere.
The biggest and most famous event is the Vancouver Pride Parade which attracts tens of thousands of people. There are street parties, festivals, drag shows and other similar events in Vancouver and other municipalities throughout the region too.
This article contains information about the following:
Vancouver Pride Festival | North Vancouver Pride | New Westminster Pride | Surrey Pride | Whistler Pride Festival | Other Information
Pride Celebrations and Events in Metro Vancouver
Every summer there are Pride parties, parades and other events that take place in and around Vancouver. June is officially Pride Month, although not all Pride Weeks are in June. There are plenty in July and August as well, and sometimes at other times of the year too (like with Whistler Pride in winter). For those who want to celebrate all things LGBTQ+, there are a number of major event options to choose from.
Vancouver Pride Festival
Vancouver Pride has its official festival week at the end of July or beginning of August. Events also take place throughout the month of July with some as early as June. It’s the biggest Pride festival in the Lower Mainland, and one of the largest in North America. In addition to the main events, activities include ballroom parties, fitness classes, walking tours, baseball games, theatre shows, educational panels and more.
See below to learn about the Vancouver Pride Parade, Sunset Beach Festival and Really Gay Walking Tours with Forbidden Vancouver. To learn more about the festival in general, see our article about the Vancouver Pride Festival.
Vancouver Pride Parade
The biggest attraction of the Vancouver festival is the annual Pride Parade. In 2022 the parade was on July 31st. It marched through downtown Vancouver from Robson Street to Sunset Beach. The parade usually takes place in the afternoon from around noon to 3:00 pm on the Sunday of the BC Day Long Weekend.
The crowds that go to watch the parade are huge! This is especially the case in the middle of downtown. So many people attend this event!
The Pride Parade is one of the biggest events in Vancouver and it’s very bright and colourful. It’s family-friendly and open to everyone regardless of sexual orientation. Dozens of floats take part in the event as do bands, folk in colourful (and sometime rather risqué) costumes, and more.
Sunset Beach Festival
The Pride Parade finishes at Sunset Beach which is then the site of the Sunset Beach Festival. The festival begins before noon although it’s generally not so busy until the parade finishes in the early afternoon. The festivities then continue at Sunset Beach for another few hours.
The event is free to attend and includes multiple stages with live entertainment throughout the day. There is also a beer garden for those who are ages 19+ as well as various artisan vendors and community organization booths. Plenty of snacks and drinks are on hand (for purchase) and the event takes place right along the water.
To learn more about this Vancouver Pride event see our article about the Sunset Beach Festival.
Forbidden Vancouver’s Really Gay History Tours
Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours don’t just happen during Vancouver Pride, but the company is a sponsor of the festival. One of their tours has an LGBTQ+ theme. It happens throughout much of the year, but with additional tours during Pride Week.
From around June to October Forbidden Vancouver offers its Really Gay History Tour which showcases the history of LGBTQ+ activity in Vancouver. The tours usually begin at 10:00 am on Sundays at the Robert Lee YMCA building and end in the Davie Street Village.
Additional tours are held during Pride Week. The tours offer a great opportunity to learn about the struggles of Vancouver’s gay community and how it has gained recognition and acceptance over the years. The tours are very educational and highly recommended.
To learn more about these and the company’s other more traditional tours, see our article about Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours.
North Vancouver Pride
The biggest Pride event on Vancouver’s North Shore is Pride at the Pier. In 2022 it took place on July 29th at Shipbuilders’ Square in North Vancouver. The event generally runs from 5:00 pm until around 9:00 or 10:00 pm. There are DJs, drag performances, food trucks, cocktails and other activities. The event is sort of a dance party with plenty of live music and people of all ages attending.
Pride at the Pier is smaller than the main Vancouver Pride events that take place elsewhere during the same week, but it’s growing. It takes place in a very accessible area as well with great places to shop and eat nearby.
To learn more about this event see our article about Pride at the Pier.
New Westminster Pride
New West Pride Week takes place in August, from the 5th to the 13th in 2022. There are various events that take place over the course of that time with the main New West Pride Street Festival on the final day. Some of the events are free and some require paid admission.
The Street Festival is held on Columbia Street in downtown New Westminster. It takes place from 3:00 to 8:00 pm on August 13th in 2022. The event covers a four block area from Fourth to Eighth Avenue. It features three different stages with live entertainment performing over the course of the day. At the same time as this event there is also Untoxicated which is a ticketed event that hosts some very popular drag queens.
Other activities that take place in New Westminster during the city’s Pride Week in typical years are karaoke events, trivia nights, brunches and a boat cruise.
Pride celebrations in Surrey are generally a bit smaller than in Vancouver and they take place in June. The 2022 Surrey Pride Festival was on June 25th outside of Central City Mall. It took place from 4:00 to 9:00 pm and included a series of drag performances as well as some live music.
There are some other Pride events that take place in Surrey over the month of June as well. In 2022 there was drag queen bingo, a public dance and a bowling night, among other activities. Surrey Pride also sponsored the showing of a new exhibit at the Museum of Surrey which covered the history of LGBTQ+ activism in the area.
Whistler Pride Festival
Whereas most Lower Mainland Pride festivals happen in the summer, the one that’s a couple of hours from Vancouver up the Sea to Sky Highway happens in winter.
In 2022 the Whistler Pride & Ski Festival took place from January 23rd to 30th. In 2023 it happens from January 22nd until the 29th.
In Whistler the LGBTQ+-themed events include a procession, parties and skiing activities.
To learn more about this event see the WhatToDoInWhistler.ca website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Events Calendars
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- Vancouver Hotels
- Lower Mainland Restaurants
- Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours