Western Canada refers to the vast geographic region of Canada, stretches from the western border of Ontario, to the Pacific Ocean on Canada’s west coast, and is home to the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Rich in resources and natural beauty, this region is of keen interest to both adventure seekers and those with economic interests from around the world.
Western Canada was considered by some in the past to also include the territories of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, but they are more commonly identified these days as their own distinct region known as Northern Canada, or the North.
The West, as it is commonly referred to, is home to over 10.5 million Canadians, and includes the modern major urban centres of Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. These centers have thriving LGBTQ communities, with year round activities, annual festivals and events. There are also numerous other smaller urban centres, with active LGBTQ communities, hosting annual celebrations, and events of interest. This edition highlights the spectacular province of British Columbia, with special features on Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler.
Vancouver is also the starting point for many people entering Canada from overseas, and a stylish state-of-the-art airport (YVR) welcomes visitors to the region. Many updates and add-ons took place in preparation for the 2010 Olympics, and one particular feature that is a convenient plus for travelers is the Canada Line, offering direct, fast, light rail service from YVR to the downtown core.
Home to the largest LGBT community in Western Canada, Vancouver’s Davie Village is the focal point for the many in the LGBTTQ community, located in the fabulous West End. Rainbow banners line the street posts of this 24/7 hub of activity, where the majority of Vancouver’s gay pubs, restaurants, saunas and dance bars are located. Qmunity, located in the heart of Davie Village, is a Queer resource centre, providing events, support, and programs for BC’s lesbian, gay, bi, transgendered, queer, two-spirited and questioning community.
Commercial Drive is a more funky neighbourhood on Vancouver’s east side, packed with smaller, owner-operated business, over 400 in all, many of which are one of a kind. It is also ethnically and culturally diverse, considered a Little Italy in days gone by, and many remnants of those days can still be found. Known locally as “The Drive”, it is home to the annual Dyke March and Festival, as well as East Side Pride, which kicks off Pride season in Vancouver. Popular with Vancouver’s thriving lesbian community, and many others looking to sidestep the downtown core, The Drive is a destination within a destination, and a great place to visit.
Another up and coming area gaining popularity with local LGBTQ community, is the edgy, vibrant Mount Pleasant district, which is a delightful centre of cafes, bistros, boutiques, galleries, antiques shops, tanning salons and more. Check out the Community Centre, gay-friendly hotels and several gay owned and operated businesses in the area.
Vancouver’s LGBTTQ community is a visible, thriving part of the city’s cultural fabric, and the annual Pride Parade and Festival now attracts hundreds of thousands of people each August. 2011 was a landmark year of 33 years of celebrating the rainbow in Vancouver, as the city was host to the North America Outgames, Human Rights Conference, Q Hall of Fame Ball and the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival, all in the same week, July 25 – 31, 2011. Estimates ran as high as 650,000 for the turnout for the festivities.
Same-sex marriage was first legalized in British Columbia on July 8, 2003, and since that time, numerous couples from around the world have made Vancouver their destination of choice, when deciding on a location to take their vows. Many couples plan ahead to incorporate their ceremony into a memorable vacation/honeymoon in this gorgeous setting, making Vancouver the ideal destination of choice.
For more information Click the image
Whistler is an award-winning, year-round mountain resort located within two hours of downtown Vancouver. Along with Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb and the community of Whistler were official venues for the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games, and Whistler was a proud host for events during the Vancouver North America Outgames in July 2011.
Upscale amenities, including stylish hotels, spas, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, adventure companies, and the world-renowned Whistler Gay ski week, known as WinterPride, make Whistler one of the top gay-friendly ski resorts in North America. ZipTreking, dog-sledding, tubing, wine-tastings, and numerous Apres-ski parties, and Dance Parties for both men and women featuring renowned DJs and entertainers are all part of the mix during this popular destination event which takes place each February. This coming season marks a milestone for WinterPride, as they celebrate their 20th annual Gay and Lesbian Ski/Snowboard Week, February 5 – 12, 2012. Be sure to check their website for additional updates, online booking, and a full schedule of events.