Celebrating “gay pride” and the LGBTQ2+ community, the Vancouver Pride Parade is a colourful event taking place on the Sunday of the BC Day Long Weekend.
The next Vancouver Pride Parade happens on Sunday, August 6th, in 2023. On that same day there is Pride Night event out on the water with Vancouver Boat Parties and Happyland at the PNE. About two weeks later, on August 19th, there is the Chilliwack Pride Festival.
Vancouver Pride Parade
The Vancouver Pride Parade is one of Canada’s largest LGBTQ-themed parades. It’s also arguably one of Vancouver’s most interesting and colourful events of the year.
If you’re looking for information about Pride Week in general, check out our article about the Vancouver Pride Festival. If wanting details about just the parade, continue reading. And for details about a similar event in Whistler in winter, see the WhatToDoInWhistler.ca website.
For people who like parades and both fancy and flamboyant costumes, are supportive of the LGBTQ community, can handle large crowds, and don’t mind seeing a bit of skin and the occasional person in their underwear, the Vancouver Pride Parade can be a very fun event. Truly, it’s an impressive thing to see!
The Vancouver Pride Parade is a very gay event, but you don’t have to be “gay” to enjoy the festivities. It’s family-friendly, and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shows up most years.
When and Where
Last year the Vancouver Pride Parade took place from 12:00 to 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 31st. In 2023 the parade happens on Sunday, August 6th.
In previous years, the parade used to begin on Thurlow Street. However, in 2023 the parade floats and other entries assemble at the corner of Denman Street and Davie Street in the morning. The procession heads east along Beach Avenue and continues onto Pacific Boulevard. It finishes at Concord Community Park where the Pride Festival takes place.
Special Accessibility Services
For those with mobility issues, there are usually a couple of accessible viewing areas during the parades. In past years, one was at the corner of Denman Street and Haro. The other was on Beach Avenue near Broughton Street. Folk who wanted access to these areas were able to reserve their spots by e-mailing email@example.com.
Also good to know, there was a free shuttle bus in 2019 from Waterfront Station to Beach Avenue for folk needing to get to the Beach Avenue accessible viewing area.
Hopefully 2023 will be similar, although exact details are to be confirmed..
Interested in an LGBTQ-friendly guided walking tour around Vancouver’s West End? Then check out Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours.
About Vancouver’s Pride Parade
The first Vancouver Pride Parade took place in 1978, which makes 2023 the event’s 45th anniversary.
Today the event is the largest of its kind in Western Canada. Hundreds of thousands of people attend during more normal years, and as many as 150 entries participate. There are marching bands, people on floats, and politicians waving from cars or simply walking along.
As stated on the Vancouver Pride Society’s official website, the parade is “A celebration. A protest. A party. A place to take up space. An opportunity to don our finest and shiniest. A chance to recognize how far we have come and reflect on where we need to go from here.”
What to Expect
Expect to see lots of people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and two-spirited (LGBTQIA2S) community at the Vancouver Pride Parade, both in the procession itself and watching from the sidewalk. Expect to see lots of their friends and supporters too, plus thousands of straight folk all having a great time.
According to some estimates, well over half a million people turn out for the parade and related events on the same day. It’s impressive!
At the parade you can expect to see all the colours of the rainbow and sidewalks packed full of spectators. There are also extravagantly decorated floats, people in all kinds of wild and crazy costumes, music blaring, bands playing, people dancing and tons of folk having a blast.
In the parade there are people dressed in regular clothes, but many also in rainbow-coloured outfits, drag and Mardis Gras-style costumes. A few are in just their underwear, others are in swimsuits, some have body paint and a lot of men are shirtless. Pride flags are everywhere!
VANCITY, THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY & HISTORY
Did you know that Vancity Credit Union was Canada’s first financial institution to market to the LGBTQ community through mainstream advertising? They started that back in 2002. Vancity was also a major sponsor of the Vancouver Pride Festival and the parade for many years and helped financially to make the event what it is today.
At the parade in 2019 Vancity had a water refilling station outside their branch at 1798 Robson Street at the corner of Denman and Robson. It was free to fill up your water bottles there. Hopefully 2023 will be the same.
Vancity staff also walked in the parade in 2019 along with Vancouver artist Joe Average who designed the Canadian Mint’s recently released pure silver Equality Coin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
For more details about Vancity and the credit union’s involvement with the LGBTQ community, see Vancity’s Blog.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your Vancouver Pride Parade experience.
TIP: 1 – Unless you hate crowds, don’t like parades or simply aren’t a fan of this sort of thing, go! It’s one of (if not the) most impressive parade in Vancouver all year! It’s highly recommended!
TIP: 2 – Go early, like really early, to find a spot on the sidewalk to see from.
TIP: 3 – Consider going on the Really Gay History Tour with Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours. Forbidden Vancouver runs all sorts of walking tours in downtown Vancouver. They are exceptional, and their Really Gay History Tour has an LGBTQ theme. If you take the tour not only will you have a fun and entertaining experience, but you’ll also learn about the history of the LGBTQ movement which will provide background to the origins of the Pride Festival and the parade. The tour is educational and highly recommended.
To learn more about the parade and the organization behind it, see the Vancouver Pride website.
To learn more about other Pride Week events, see our article about the Vancouver Pride Festival.
For information about a nearby Pride event in winter, click Whistler Pride and Ski Festival.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Pride Festival (formerly called the Sunset Beach Pride Festival)
- Chilliwack Pride Festival
- New West Pride Week
- Pride Events Elsewhere in the Lower Mainland
- Really Gay History Tours
- BC Day Long Weekend
- Vancouver’s August Calendar
- Vancouver Festivals & Events
- The A to Z’s of Vancouver
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment