Ho! Ho! Ho! The Holidays are here and Santa is on his way!
Santa will be riding into town this weekend, for the 15th Annual Vancouver Santa Claus Parade, December 2, 2018.
Hundreds of thousands are expected to fill downtown Vancouver to view the parade, volunteer and participate in the parade in bands, choirs, floats and community organizations. Before the parade, fuel up your troupe with Breakfast with Santa at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver from 9:30am – 10:30am. Then at Noon, the parade route begins at West Georgia at Broughton Street, runs east on West Georgia to Howe Street then comes to an end at Howe at Davie Street. The route passes Christmas Square at šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square at Vancouver Art Gallery, which features fun for kids, young and old face painting, kids crafts, ‘letters to Santa’ writing stations, entertainment and more.
As well, Vancouver Santa Claus Parade charity partners the CKNW Kids’ Fund and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank will also be onsite at the Square collecting donations. If you forget to bring your donation to the parade, stop by a TELUS corporate store until December 9th, for every food bank item donated to the collection boxes in the stores, TELUS will donate an additional $5.00 to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. After the parade, head to Telus Garden Laneway between Robson and West Georgia St, for more entertainment, festive fun and get a family photo with Santa.
With the big crowds it is best to plan ahead, arrive early, take transit to avoid the road closures. Viewing is most congested around the Georgia Steet & Howe Street intersection, good options are to watch near the start or finish of the route. An accessible viewing area set up in on the East side of Howe Street, just south of Georgia Street. If you can’t make it to downtown Vancouver to watch the parade in person, tune into Global BC and BC1 to watch the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade telecast starting a week after the parade.
The 36th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade took place under blazing skies as more than half a million people lined the parade route to watch and celebrate diversity with the thousands of parade participants. For the second year as an ‘official civic event’ the parade went off smoothly and efficiently, and depending on where one was watching, lasted about 3 hours.
The parade is truly a celebration, while still mindful of the quest for equality and diversity that has come before, as the participants and viewers kept the atmosphere light and entertaining all along the parade route. The parade began on Robson Street at Thurlow, heading West to Denman Street, then following Denman to Beach Avenue finally wrapping up at Sunset Beach, the site of the Pride Festival & Market. Traditionally kicked off by the “Dykes On Bikes” followed by this year’s Grand Marshalls; Ted Northe (Posthumus), Gwen Haworth & Dean Nelson. Then a wide range of entries took their turn walking or rolling along the streets, corporate partners like TD Canada Trust, Stoli Vodka, London Drugs, Winners/Homesense joined community organizations like McLaren Housing Society, LOUD Business and Canadian Cancer Society. Nearly every media outlet from the city and all major political parties from civic, provincial and federal levels also made their way through the city.
As the parade wound up, and the public followed the final float away, the clean up crew was close behind tearing down the fencing, collecting trash and cleaning the street, leaving behind just memories of another great Vancouver Pride Parade.
Dancing Elvis’, Lumberjacks, SuperDogs, Red Robinson, Giant Inflatables…these are not your typical entries in a Vancouver Parade but this was not just any parade.
In honour of it’s 100th Anniversary, the Fair At The PNE revived a lost summer time tradition…the PNE Parade. Held annually until 1995 the PNE Parade was the kick off to the Fair and highlighted one of the last major events of the season (the Fair runs the last half of August, closing on Labour Day). Led off by the indomitable Bandleader Dal Richards as Grand Marshall, this 100th Anniversary revival celebrated all the achievements, entertainment and traditions associated with the last 10 decades of the Pacific National Exhibition; including – Iconic concerts; Elvis in 1957 and The Beatles in 1964, hosted by radio legend Red Robinson. – Sports; BC Lions & Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Stadium, Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum; – Exhibits: Horse Shows, 4H competitions, Logger Sports, Monster Trucks – Playland: Carnival Games, Fair Food – Multiculturalism: Chinese Dragon and Bollywood Dancers
Most of all it seemed like this parade featured memories, you could see and hear from the older members of the audience as they mentioned past events and family trips to the Fair. Also, from the next generations as they visit with their children and form new memories that will last for the next century of The PNE/Playland
The day started out under cloudy skies as the masses, some 600,000+ strong, gathered in Vancouver’s West End. Even before the parade began the camaraderie and revelry was evident in the large diverse crowd. Sitting with my friends from gayvancouver.net I was wedged in beside a lovely older lady, a recent retiree to Vancouver, who, with her partner, was very excited to celebrate her first Pride Parade. On the other side of me were two happy little girls, excitedly blowing on their whistles and cheering loudly when the parade came by. As the parade began with the traditional ride by the ‘Dykes on Bikes’, like clockwork the skies began to clear and the sun emerged to brighten and warm the afternoon.
As the weather got hotter so did the parade participants…both literally and figuratively! The crowd was treated to over 100 spectacular floats and entries covering the whole spectrum of the community: corporate entries from banks and retailers, LGBT sports organizations and support groups marched alongside elected officials of most political parties who were followed up by nightclubs and restaurants. Costumes ranged from simple shorts & tees to elaborate drag queens/kings to bikini clad go-go dancers. The main 2010 Pride theme of Liberate was evident in many of the floats and groups as everyone aimed to get their particular message across, whether political, educational or just plain fun. And judging from the crowd…they had fun. After nearly 3 hours the parade wound down but the party didn’t. People headed to the Sunset Beach Pride festival to continue the festivities into the evening….and organizers probably began thinking about next year…will you be there?