Gleaming glass towers accentuate the dramatic skyline of Vancouver, contrasting with a pristine backdrop of rugged coastal mountains on Canada’s pacific coast. This modern metropolis is home base for over 2.5 million ethnically diverse people, and is recognized on many global lists as one of the most beautiful places, with one of the highest qualities of living on earth. It’s also where Western Canada’s largest LGBTQ2+ community calls home.
Nine major beaches meander around the city, many with long stretches of gorgeous sandy beaches, which are easily accessed via the stunning 28 kilometer Seawall, by car, bicycle, or on foot. Some also boast Canada’s longest stretches of subtropical looking palm trees, which are a unexpected surprise for many. A fab way to top off a busy day is to sit beneath the palm trees to watch the sunset at English Bay or Sunset Beach, before heading up the hill a few blocks to Vancouver’s world-renowned Davie Village.
Davie Village, in Vancouver’s spectacular West End is considered by many to be the heart of Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community, and is home to the majority of Vancouver’s gay entertainment venues and businesses. This 24/7 neighbourhood includes a wide assortment of reasonably priced restaurants featuring cuisine from around the globe, friendly pubs with patios, dance clubs, coffee shops, hotels, saunas, and more.
The City of Vancouver and the West End Business Improvement Association (WEBIA) have worked closely with the community over the years to develop welcoming enhancements to the neighbourhood, including the iconic rainbow crosswalks at Davie and Bute streets, rainbow banners along the street posts, and computerized strings of multi-coloured LED lights above the sidewalk stretch of Davie Village.
At the heart of the village is Jim Deva Plaza, right next to the rainbow crosswalks, which honours one of Vancouver’s gay pioneers and community heroes. A stylish aquamarine speaker’s corner is also a very fitting tribute to Jim, as many who knew him would agree. Just steps away from his legendary Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium, this is also where many begin their visit to LGBTQ2+ welcoming Vancouver.
Events galore highlight Vancouver’s LGBTQAI2S+ annual calendar, and 2023 will be no exception. One of the first major events of the summer season is the Queer Arts Festival, with 11 days of visual art, performance, theatre, music, dance and literary events, making it one of the top queer arts festivals in the world.
The Vancouver Pride Society produces the annual Pride Parade and Festival at Sunset Beach and Pride festivities stretch out over more than a month long schedule, kicking off with East Side Pride in June, and culminating with the Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival on Sunday, August 6, 2023. The annual Pride Parade is the largest parade in the city, and with official city status, attracts estimated crowds of hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. Be sure to plan well in advance, as hotels and the best event tickets sell out every year.
The Vancouver Pride Society has also announced the organization’s bid to host Canada Pride in 2024. The bid, centering sustainability, will be presented at the Fierté Canada Pride (FCP) Annual General Meeting in Kelowna in March, 2023, where FCP members will then vote for the 2024 host city.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival, the largest queer arts event in Western Canada will celebrate its 35th iteration from August 10 - 20, 2023. With a strong focus on Canadian filmmakers and telling stories of queer, trans, and two-spirit communities, as well as featuring a documentary shorts program, these films screen amongst films which premiered at Sundance, Cannes, Berlinale and other internationally recognized festivals.
As you can see, Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community is an active and integrated part of Vancouver’s cultural mosaic. Proudly represented in the political spectrum, tourism industry, Civic calendar of events, film and TV industries, and all walks of business. LGBTQ2+ Vancouverites enjoy this fabulous destination the same as everyone else. Perhaps Destination Vancouver says it best: You Belong in Vancouver!
West End BIA