Gay Pride Parade paints Vancouver rainbow colours: slide show
The streets of downtown Vancouver were transformed into a sea of bright feather boas, glitter, and colourful budgie-smugglers as a crowd of over half a million people from around the world gathered for the 34th annual Vancouver Pride Parade on Sunday.
Despite the heat wave, spirits were high throughout the afternoon as bejeweled strangers blew kisses, seniors in tie-dye dresses waved from their chairs, and drag queens in neon colours strutted for the crowd. And the dancing never stopped.
The parade began at noon, led by grand marshals and international role models Jenna Talackova and Bill Monroe, as well as a float dedicated to the late David Holtzman. Recently, Talackova has been in the spotlight due to her successful battle to be Miss Universe Canada’s first transgendered contestant (read The Vancouver Observer's extensive coverage on the issue here). Her struggle demonstrates that despite the celebratory atmosphere of the parade, as participants and organizers are quick to point out, there is a long way to go in the the LGBT community’s pursuit of equality.
Photo by Craig Fleisch
“As we celebrate...we must remember the struggles of our brothers and sisters throughout the Province and around the world,” Tim Richards, president of the Vancouver Pride Society said.
The parade wound its way from Robson Street in the heart of downtown, along Denman Street to Beach Avenue, and finished at the Sunset Beach Pride Festival about three hours later. 150 groups participated, including the Cutting Edges (Western Canada’s only gay hockey club) with Canucks’ star Manny Malhotra, the Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society, and Lawyers with Pride. The grassroots group Tanker Free B.C. also came out into the street with slogans like “Sex on beaches not Exxon beaches.”
Photo by Craig Fleisch
Many events followed the parade, such as barbeques, cruises, the largest parking lot dance party, and a drug and alcohol free party for youth. The events will continue throughout the next 2 weeks with live theatre, dance, and workshops by the Queer Arts Festival, followed by the Queer Film Festival. See the official Pride guide for details: http://www.vancouverpride.ca/pride-guide/