Vancouver, Canada’s hip modern metropolis on Canada’s Pacific Coast is home base for over 2.4 million Vancouverites, and is recognized by many as one of the most beautiful and desirable places to live on the planet. It’s also home base for the largest LGBTQ2+ community in Western Canada.
A moderate Mediterranean climate complements the impressive Coast Mountains that frame Vancouver’s spectacular setting. Nine major beaches meander eighteen kilometres around the city, many with long stretches of gorgeous sandy beaches, and some highlighted by long stretches of sub-tropical looking palm trees. A fab way to top off a busy day is to sit beneath the palm trees to watch the sunset, before heading up the hill to Vancouver’s world-renowned Davie Village.
Davie Village, in Vancouver’s fabulous West End anchors Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community, and is considered ground zero for many. Home to the majority of Vancouver’s gay entertainment venues and businesses, the iconic rainbow crosswalks at Davie and Bute Streets, as well as the banners that line the street posts are provided courtesy of the City of Vancouver, and the West End Business Improvement Association (WEBIA). Naturally, many businesses in the area also proudly display rainbow flags, banners, or stickers, making sure you know you are welcome.
Jim Deva Plaza is at the heart of Davie Village, right next to the rainbow crosswalks, and 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.
Speaking of hearts, the retro Heart of Davie Village neon sign, right next to The Fountainhead Pub, welcomes visitors to the Village. This is also a photo hot spot, for posting on social media to let people know you have arrived. With easy access from all major downtown hotels, Davie Village is must-see part of any Vancouver itinerary.
To get a good look and feel for this gorgeous city outside the Village, highly recommended is the world’s longest continuous waterfront path, the Vancouver Seawall, which winds for 28 kilometres from the Vancouver Convention Centre downtown, all the way to the fabulous beaches of Spanish Banks. Bike lanes and pedestrian paths keep things running smoothly along the way, passing by upscale yacht clubs, seaside hotels and numerous restaurants and pubs. Take in the wonders of Stanley Park, with stunning views of the Lion’s Gate Bridge, stop for a break at Second or Third Beach, or continue on to English Bay Beach, Sunset Beach, Granville Island, David Lam Park, and much, much more.
Another good starting point for many is Canada Place, which is part of the Vancouver Convention Centre complex and right across the street from the Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre where you can pick up free copies of the Gay Friendly Vancouver – In Town Guide. The iconic sails of Canada Place are recognized symbols of Vancouver, and a great Photo Opp, especially when they are highlighted for special events with dramatic lighting to fit the occasion, including rainbow colours for the annual Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival.
In 2019 Vancouver Pride will celebrate its 41st Anniversary. The Vancouver Pride Society organizes the annual Vancouver Pride Parade and Pride Festival @ Sunset Beach, in addition to other events throughout the year, such as the Unicorn Ball, and Stand Out Awards. The annual 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 stretch out over a month long schedule, culminating with the parade and festival on August 4, 2019. Be sure to plan well in advance, as hotels and the best event tickets sell out every year. And if by chance you just can’t be there, you can watch Live coverage of the Vancouver Pride Parade on OUTtv, and both the Vancouver Pride Society and Gayvan.com web sites.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival, the largest queer arts event in Western Canada will celebrate its 31st iteration from August 15 - 25, 2019. With a strong focus on Canadian filmmakers and telling stories of queer, trans, and two-spirit communities, they will again renew audience favourite programs like The Coast is Queer and The Coast Is Gender Queer, two shorts film programs focused entirely on works created by BC filmmakers, and Troublemakers, an inter-generational documentary shorts program created by queer youth/senior pairings from Vancouver. These programs will screen amongst films which premiered at Sundance, Cannes, Berlinale and other internationally recognized festivals.
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, and all walks of business, LGBTQ2+ Vancouverites enjoy the fabulous destination the same as everyone else.
2019 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 ninth consecutive year by Skytrax World Airport Awards in 2018, the sheer glass walls throughout YVR highlight the stunning natural setting on arrival. See you on the West Coast!
West End BIA