Vancouver, Canada’s hip modern metropolis on Canada’s Pacific Coast is the place of choice for over 2.3 million residents, and one of the most desirable places to live anywhere. It’s also home base for the largest LGBTQ+ community in Western Canada.
Stunning mountains frame Vancouver’s spectacular setting, with gleaming glass towers juxtaposed against a backdrop of dramatic scenery, and long stretches of gorgeous sandy beaches, highlighted by Canada’s longest stretch of sub-tropical looking palm trees.
One of the best ways to take it all in is to traverse Vancouver’s magnificent Seawall. The world’s longest continuous waterfront path goes for 28 kilometres, from the Vancouver Convention Centre downtown, all the way to the fabulous beaches of Spanish Banks. Along the way, take in scenic yacht clubs, seaside hotels and restaurants, the wonders of Stanley Park, Third Beach, Second Beach, English Bay Beach, Sunset Beach, Granville Island and more.
Gearing up for 2017 and Canada’s 150th Anniversary, Vancouver kicked things off with what is now said to be the largest attended annual New Year’s Eve celebrations in the country. Festivities will also continue throughout the year with free events at Canada Place, which also hosts the second largest Canada Day celebrations outside the nation’s capital,
Ottawa. The iconic sails of Canada Place are recognized symbols of Vancouver, highlighted for special events with dramatic lighting to fit the occasion, including rainbow colours for the annual Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival.
Vancouver will also celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial with Canada 150+, a year-long celebration of First Nations culture, with a theme of Strengthening our Relations, and intent to recognize that there is an extensive First Nations history in Canada, as well. First Nations blessings are also always part of the official reading of the Pride Proclamation, with the mayor of Vancouver, to kick off the annual Vancouver Pride festivities.
2017 will be a fantastic time to visit Vancouver, and Vancouver’s stylish state-of-the-art airport (YVR) is one of the first impressions for visitors to the region. Voted #1 Airport in North America for the seventh consecutive year by Skytrax World Airport Awards in 2016, YVR also received CAPA Centre for Aviation’s Airport of the Year Award at the Aviation Awards for Excellence, in Amsterdam in October, 2016.
Getting around Vancouver is easy and convenient, starting right from arrival at YVR. Built for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Canada Line offers direct, fast, light rail service from YVR to the downtown core for a very reasonable price. Day passes can also be purchased at kiosks at YVR which allow connections from the Canada Line to the light rail Skytrain, Millenium Line, Expo Line, the brand new Evergreen Line, SeaBus and an extensive conventional bus system, making getting around Vancouver not only convenient, but cost effective. Conventional taxi service is also readily available outside arrival terminals.
Visitors to Vancouver’s Davie Village will see the ongoing community improvements to the neighbourhood, including Jim Deva Plaza, which was dedicated just in time for Pride last year, and is anchored by the now world-famous iconic rainbow crosswalks. A focal point for Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ community, Davie Village is also a great starting point for LGBTQ+ travellers to the city. Situated in Vancouver’s fabulous West End, with easy access from all major downtown hotels, and just steps from some of Vancouver’s most gorgeous beaches, Davie Village is must-see part of any Vancouver itinerary.
Commercial Drive on Vancouver’s east side, known locally as “The Drive”, 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.
The Vancouver Pride Society organizes the annual Vancouver Pride Parade and Pride Festival @ Sunset Beach, as well as hosting a schedule of other events throughout the year. The Pride Parade is the largest parade in the city, and with official city status, attracts an estimated hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. Pride festivities will stretch out over a month long schedule, culminating with the parade and festival on August 6, 2017. To kick things up a notch, Vancouver also showcases an international fireworks competition, the Honda Celebration of Light, with the final show blasting off in English Bay the night before the Pride Parade. Be sure to plan well in advance, as hotels and the best event tickets sell out in advance every year.
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Blue Horizon Hotel
West End BIA
Sandman Hotel & Suites on Davie
British Columbia's gorgeous capital city, Victoria, located on the southernmost tip of spectacular Vancouver Island, is a world-class destination in its own right, but also recommended as part of any visit to British Columbia. Getting there is easy, as this delightful cosmopolitan destination is easily accessed by air, catamaran, coach, ferry, or even as part of an incredible whale watching adventure from downtown Vancouver.
Victoria is famous for its decidedly British flavour, world-class hotels, decadent dining, wine, seafood, and some of the best microbreweries on the west coast. Other highlights include; unique European-style architecture, antique shopping, art galleries, great outdoor adventure travel, second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America and gardens, gardens, gardens!
The rainbow flag flies proudly in front of the world-renowned Provincial Legislature Buildings during Victoria Pride Week, with more than a full week of celebrations in July of each year. Victoria has a visible and active LGBT community, with thousands of people lining Government Street for the annual Pride Parade, which winds past the Legislature to MacDonald Park, where the Pride Festival enjoys beer gardens, live performance stages, and over 125 vendor booths. 2017 will be better than ever, as Victoria celebrates 23 years of Pride.
The Parkside Hotel & Spa
Vancouver is the starting point for many international travellers, but is also the main transportation hub for visiting other exciting destinations within the province. Many visitors also opt for a Two Nation Vacation when visiting the region, by including Seattle and nearby Washington State.
Whistler Blackcomb, voted North America’s top ski resort for many years, is located within two hours of downtown Vancouver. 2017 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, with eight days, multiple events, and three thousand-plus guys and gals. Guest performers in 2017 include Kim Kuzma, Pam Ann, DJ Micky Friendmann (Berlin), The Cube Guys, as well as some of Vancouver’s top DJ’s.
Kelowna, the largest city on stunning Okanagan Lake, is within easy access of Vancouver and Victoria, and has a thriving LGBTQ+ community that is home base for the annual Okanagan Pride Festival. This popular annual multi-day event continues to see growing support from the local community in terms of partnership and attendance, with many returning events and some fun new twists.
Other fascinating adventure destinations include the lush rainforests of Haida Gwai, the magnificent Kootenay Rockies and the vast wilderness of Northern B.C., to name a few. Vancouver-based Pacific Coastal Airlines, the sixth largest airline operating out of YVR, offers regularly scheduled flights and charters to 65+ destinations throughout the province.
Pacific Coastal Airlines