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Vancouver Pride Week Festival

Pride Parade LOVE Balloons

Pride Week is a gay festival in Vancouver’s West End that celebrates the city’s LGBTQIA2+ community. It includes a world-famous Pride Parade in early August.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vancouver Pride Festival took place in a modified format for the second straight year in 2021. Between mid-July and August 3rd there were both in-person and virtual festivities scheduled to take place.

In 2022 the festival’s theme is “Together Again”, and it takes place around the end of July. The Vancouver Pride Parade itself happens in-person on Sunday, July 31st. There should be fewer virtual events and more in-person ones compared to the last two years.

 

Really Gay History Tour

 

Vancouver Pride Festival

The Vancouver Pride Festival occurs each year around the end of July and the beginning of August. The Vancouver Pride Parade takes place on the Sunday (which is the second-to-last day of the festival). While Pride Week in Vancouver doesn’t take place until July, June is Pride Month worldwide so there are usually some celebrations then as well!

In 2020 Pride Week was going to run from July 27th until August 3rd and the parade was scheduled to happen on the 2nd. However, both in-person events were cancelled due to the pandemic and online events took place instead. The 2021 festival hosted in-person events along with virtual events from July until the beginning of August, with a de-centralized parade on August 1st.

Some of the live in-person events took place at Stanley Park Brewing at 8901 Stanley Park Drive. These included the Pride Lounge, Brews & Tunes and the Stanley Park Farmer’s Market, among others. Events took place at other venues too.

In 2022, the parade is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 31st. It’s scheduled to happen as an in-person event. This year’s festival will likely also feature some virtual programming on top of in-person activities.

 


Below is information about the following:

About Pride Week | When & Where | 2022 Events Schedule | Pride Run & Walk | Pride Picnic | Pride at the Pier | Festival at Sunset Beach | Pride Parade | Tips & Suggestions | Other Information


 

Click any of the above links to jump to a specific event or topic, or continue reading to learn all about Vancouver Pride Week’s biggest and most popular events.

 

About Vancouver Pride Week

Vancouver’s West End, especially along Davie Street, is famous for its rainbow colours and gay-friendly atmosphere anytime of the year, but especially in late July and early August when Vancouver’s annual Pride Festival takes place.

Hosted by the Vancouver Pride Society, the week of events is celebrated not only by Vancouver’s LGBTQIA2+ community, but by the entire city and visitors from around the world.

You don’t have to be a part of the LGBTQIA2+ community to appreciate the Vancouver Pride Parade as being one of the city’s most impressive annual parades.

In years when there isn’t a pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people turn out each year to enjoy the music, rainbow colours, festive atmosphere and crazy costumes. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined in recent years to show his support!

 

Pride Parade on Denman
Vancouver Pride Parade on Denman Street

 

When and Where

The Vancouver Pride Festival usually takes place the week leading up to BC Day, or the first Monday in August. In years when the festival doesn’t get cancelled due to pandemics, most of the events take place in Vancouver’s West End, primarily at Sunset Beach. There are also events at other downtown locations though, as well as Pride at the Pier in North Vancouver.

Highlights of Pride Week include the Pride Festival at Sunset Beach (at 1204 Beach Avenue) and the Vancouver Pride Parade. Both take place on the Sunday of the August Long Weekend, with the parade starting at noon and the festival going all day.

In 2022 the parade happens on July 31st. The Sunset Festival, meanwhile, happens on the same date. The Unicorn Ball took place on May 13th at the Imperial (319 Main Street) this year.

See below for dates and further details about these and various other Vancouver Pride Festival events.

 

2022 Events Schedule

Below is the schedule for the 2022 Pride Festival. All events are subject to change, for the most up to date information visit the Pride Festival website.

 

May

  • Unicorn Ball – the annual fundraising event for the Vancouver Pride Society, it’s a 19+ party that was held at the Imperial. There were performances including burlesque and go-go dancers, cocktails, plenty of costumes and more (May 13th).

 

June

  • Vancouver Pride Wellness Hub – a series of fitness and wellness classes designed for specific groups within the LGBTQ+ community (June 6th to 10th).
  • SPIN X DJ X DRAG – held at Milton Wong Plaza in Olympic Village, there are multiple spin classes with drag performers and DJs on hand (June 12th).
  • East Side Parade – a fun event in Grandview Park with live entertainment, barbecue and activities like trivia, giant Jenga and more. It takes place from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and is free to attend. There is also an afterparty at the Fox Cabaret from 7:00 to 11:00 pm (June 25th).

 

July

  • Love Intersections Panel – a screening of the film Yellow Peril Queer Destiny at SFU Woodwards with a Q&A with the filmmakers afterwards (July 21st).
  • HotFruit/CoolWaters – a pool party in Point Grey with live music provided by the DJ duo MangoSweet. Open to QTBIPOC members and their families only (July 24th).
  • Pride Anthem Rowing Workout – hosted by Club Row Fitness, this event is a special day of rowing workouts with a Pride theme. There will be music playing loud and proud and plenty of rainbow workout gear (July 26th).
  • Queer History Panel – a YouTube livestream that serves as a panel discussion with a number of LGBTQ+ activists, providing the chance for plenty of audience engagement (July 26th).
  • Theatre Under the Stars – Stanley Park’s Theatre Under the Stars has a special pride night performance of We Will Rock You with all donations on the night matched by the company and given to the Vancouver Pride Society (July 26th).
  • Posh Ball 2022 – the 2nd annual edition of this party in the ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. It’s a 19+ event (July 29th).
  • Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast – a pancake breakfast with admission by donation, in honour of the man who helped keep Vancouver Pride financially stable in past year (July 30th).
  • AfroQueer – a celebration of the Queer Black community in Vancouver at Beaumont Studios (July 31st).
  • Pride Parade – the flagship event of the festival, the parade begins on Robson Street on the west side of the city before ending at Sunset Beach. 2022 is the 44th year of the event (July 31st).

 

Vancouver's Pride Lounge
The Pride Lounge at Stanley Park

 

In addition to the above events, there are various venues where you can kick back and enjoy drinks and performances from musicians and drag performers.

  • Rainbow Lounge – open from noon until well into the night on Granville Island (July 22nd to 24th, and 28th to 31st).
  • Vizzy Forest Lounge – located in Davie Village, open from 2:00 to 11:00 pm (July 28th to 31st).
  • Pride Neighbourhood Patio at Bentall – open from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm in Bentall Centre (July 28th to 30th).

 

Really Gay History Tour

 


REALLY GAY HISTORY TOURS

Forbidden Vancouver is a locally-owned and operated walking tour company. They offer affordably-priced walking tours around downtown Vancouver, Gastown and Stanley Park on different days of the week.

On Sunday afternoons throughout most of the year they also offer their Really Gay History Tour which is a 2-hour guided journey around Vancouver’s West End.

On the tour you’ll learn about the city’s LGBTQ2+ community and its history (which includes bookstore bombings and police raids). The experience includes visits to Robson Square, Granville Street and Davie Street Village. All are welcome! In 2022 they also have extra sessions of the tour on July 28th, July 29th, July 30th and August 1st.

Click Really Gay History Tour for details about this specific tour, or see our article about Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours to learn about the company and its other offerings.


 

Pride Run and Walk

The Pride Run & Walk has taken place in most recent years on the Sunday of the August Long Weekend at Sunset Beach. In 2019, however, it happened on July 21st. Originally scheduled for July 19th in 2020, the event went virtual due to the pandemic. The 2021 event was virtual as well.

The 2022 Run and Walk, however, is taking place in person! It’s on July 23rd and begins at the Brockton Oval Fieldhouse in Stanley Park at 9:00 am. There is the option to do either a 5 km or a 10 km course, both of them along the seawall towards False Creek and as far as Yaletown before turning around and returning to Stanley Park.

The Pride Run & Walk is for people of all abilities. There are competitive runners as well as people just out for a fun time. Many participants dress up – often quite spectacularly and in bright colours – and there are prizes for the best costumes. The event is entirely free to take part in this year although donations are recommended.

For more details about the event and to register check out the Pride Run & Walk website.

 

Pride Picnic in the Park

The Pride Picnic usually takes place on the same day as the Pride Run & Walk. After runners complete the run or walk, they head to the picnic along with their supporters. Non-running folk just head straight to the picnic.

Taking place at Second Beach, the Pride Picnic started at 11:00 am in 2019. Anyone who wants is welcome to bring their food, non-alcoholic beverages and something to sit on.

The event did not take place in 2020 (at least not physically and in one place). With no regular Run & Walk in 2021 there was no picnic right after it, though there were a few different picnics scheduled between July 30th and August 1st. 2022 details are TBC.

For more details about the picnicking event, see the Vancouver Pride website.

 

Pride at the Pier

Pride at the Pier is one of the Vancouver Pride Festival’s newer (and smaller) events. It involves an alcohol-free and family-friendly dance party at Shipbuilder’s Square near the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver.

Click Pride at the Pier for more information.

 

Pride at the Pier Characters
Pride at the Pier Drag Queen Participants

 

Pride Festival at Sunset Beach

The Pride Festival typically happens on the Sunday, which is the same day as the Vancouver Pride Parade. Starting at 11:00 am and running all day, the free event takes place at Sunset Beach Park which is located at 1204 Beach Avenue just a short walk along the waterfront from English Bay Beach.

At the Pride Festival at Sunset Beach there is the Pride Market that features over a hundred different vendors and exhibitors. There is also live music, drag performances, DJ music, a beer garden and lots of people still in costume after participating in the Vancouver Pride Parade.

Although it officially starts at 11:00 am in years when it does take place, don’t expect much to be happening at the Pride Festival at Sunset Beach until after 1:00 pm as everyone is at the parade which starts at noon and goes on for well over an hour.

From about 3:00 until 5:00 pm the festival usually gets very busy, with everything done and people packing up by around 6 o’clock.

Click Sunset Beach Festival for more information.

 

Sunset Beach at Pride Festival
Pride Festival at Sunset Beach

 

Vancouver Pride Parade

The largest event of its kind in Western Canada, the Vancouver Pride Parade is arguably the highlight of the Vancouver Pride Festival. Taking place on the last Sunday of Pride Week, so on the Sunday of the BC Day Long Weekend, it’s one of the city’s most impressive parades all year, and definitely its most colourful.

The in-person parade was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. A virtual parade, however, took place on August 2nd. The 2021 parade was on August 1st and was in a “decentralized format”.

What this meant is that people who wanted to participate were encouraged to have their own mini parades and celebrations with a “bubble” of safe people. If you took pictures or video and uploaded them to social media you might have been featured on the live Pride Parade broadcast hosted by the Vancouver Pride Society. Watching the broadcast also gave you the opportunity to win prizes and take part in some trivia games.

The 2022 Vancouver Pride Parade is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 31st from 12:00 to 3:00 pm.

 

The Pride Parade Route

In years when it does take place in full, the live in-person Vancouver Pride Parade usually starts at 12 o’clock at the corner of Robson Street and Thurlow Street in downtown Vancouver. It proceeds west along Robson Street, then south down Denman Street and finally along Beach Avenue before finishing at Sunset Beach. In total, the entire route is just under 3 km in distance.

The Vancouver Pride Parade is a large, long, colourful and entertaining parade. It lasts for well over an hour and includes rainbow-coloured floats, marching bands, and people in all kinds of colourful, exotic and sometimes unconventional costumes.

Click Pride Parade to learn more about the Sunday event.

 

Pride Parade Crowds on Robson
Pride Parade Crowds on Robson Street

 

Tips and Suggestions

Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your Vancouver Pride Festival experience in years when the big live events aren’t cancelled.

TIP #1: Get to the parade early if you want a good viewing spot. This is without a doubt one of Vancouver’s most popular parades and the streets get lined with gazillions of spectators. Unless you’re really tall, if you arrive late you’ll be seriously challenged to find a good place to watch from.

TIP #2: For the Pride Festival at Sunset Beach and Vancouver Pride Parade events, take public transit if you can. Parking is difficult and traffic is a nightmare.

TIP #3: If you’ve never been to the Vancouver Pride Parade, go! It’s a fun, inclusive, entertaining and impressive event.

 

BC Day Long Weekend

 

Other Information

For more information, see the Vancouver Pride Society website.

To learn more about the parade click Vancouver Pride Parade.

Another popular LGBTQ-themed event is the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival in winter.

For a list of other events taking place around the same time in and around Vancouver, click BC Day Long Weekend.

For information on other major events throughout the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar.