After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Gay Pride Parade paints Vancouver rainbow colours: slide show

Vancouver gay pride photo by Craig Fleisch
Vancouver gay pride photo by Craig Fleisch
Vancouver gay pride photo by Craig Fleisch
Photos by Craig Fleisch

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 partyand 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:

More in LGBT

May love overcome fear and hatred

Victoria Pride Parade 2016

The Victoria Pride Parade was held on July 10, 2016, moving from Government Street to MacDonald Park. Over 100 groups and floats--including local businesses and non-profits--helped celebrate the day.

George Takei backs bid to move Sochi Olympics to Vancouver

Vancouver Olympics, again? Star Trek icon George Takei thinks it's a good idea for the gay-friendly city.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.