6 Free Events for your Vancouver Pride Weekend

Today, at šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square (Vancouver Art Gallery north plaza) the City Of Vancouver councillor Stephenson, Joan-E Drag and members of Vancouver Pride Society will officially proclaim Pride Week In Vancouver.

The proclamation kicks off a week of events, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Vancouver Pride. While the week is packed with ticketed parties, fundraisers, and dances, there are plenty of free events to fill your agenda.

Here’s six free events to fill your Vancouver Pride weekend:

Pride At The Pier: Tuesday July 31, 5pm-10pm at Shipbuilders Square, North Vancouver
Music, activities, performers and more come to North Vancouver’s pride party for the young or young at heart.

Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast: Saturday August 4, 8am-noon at Jim Deva Plaza, West End
The by-donation pancake breakfast celebrates the legacy of Terry Wallace on of the Pride Society’s founders.

15th Annual Dyck March & Festival: Saturday August 4, 11am-5pm at Grandview Park, East Vancouver
The March leaves McSpadden Park at noon, makes its way down Commercial Drive to Grandview Park

Celebration of Light: Saturday August 4, 10pm in English Bay
While not an official Pride event the fireworks festival starts your Saturday night off with a bang as the skies above English Bay come to life.

Sunset Beach Festival: Sunday August 5, 11am – 6pm, Sunset Beach, West End
Start early, or stop by after the Parade for beer gardens, entertainers on the Main Stage, Community Zone, Family activities, food trucks and more.

40th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade: Sunday August 5, Noon – 3pm, route along Robson St, Denman St, and Beach Ave.
Join the thousands of spectators who line the streets of the West End to watch the Parade and celebrations.


5 Lunar New Year Festival 2018 Events

Chinese New Year is known as the largest mass human migration in the world, as millions of Chinese make visits to their home countries, towns and family, to celebrate the Lunar New Year.  Vancouver and Richmond have many events for those of the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and other communities who can’t make the trip home or are returning home to visit.

Weeks of events to commemorate the Lunar New Year Festival include:

Lunar Fest 2018 at the newly renovated Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza welcomes the whole family and their four-legged friends with entertainment, exhibits, crafts, markets over two weekends; Feb 18, 24 and 25, as well as events at Oakridge and Vancouver Playhouse.

Fly Over Canada – a spectacular double bill ‘flies’ over Canada and then follows through the peaks and valleys of China’s vibrant landscape in the Flight Of The Dragon, until February 18th

Lanterns in the Garden fill the Dr Sun Yat Sen classical Chinese Garden with lanterns, food, activities of a traditional YUAN XIAO (Lunar Month) lantern festival,  for three weekends from February 16th to March 4th.

International Village Mall, Aberdeen Centre, Oakridge Centre  and other Shopping Centres all around Metro Vancouver are hosting Chinese and Lunar New Year events;  Exhibits, Craft & Flower Market, Stage Performances, Dragon and Lion Dances, Kids Activities, Prizes and more fill the Malls through the New Year.

Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival, rings in the new year with a bang on February 18th as firecrackers crack through the sounds of spectators and revellers lining the route of the 45th Chinatown Parade from 11am, along E Pender, Gore and Keefer Streets. After the parade watch for ‘the Lions’ as they visit and perform for local Chinatown businesses to bring good fortune through the new year.

For more Vancouver and Richmond events and information visit lunarfestival.com

14th Annual Santa Claus Parade is coming to town

With a wink of an eye and a twist of his head…the jolly ol’ elf is coming!

It’s time for the man in the big red suit to come riding into town as the 14 annual Vancouver Santa Claus Parade presented by Telus fills downtown Vancouver with festive fun on Sunday December 3rd, 2018.

Starting 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.  Global BC news anchor Chris Gailus leads the parade as this year’s Grand Marshall, along with colleagues from the city’s other media outlets and the CKNW Orphans Fund, one of the parades charity partners.  Another beneficiary is the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, volunteers will be on hand throughout the day, to collect cash or non-perishable food donations for the food bank.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to line the streets and participate in the parade in bands, choirs, floats and community organizations.  Before the parade, feed your troupe with Breakfast with Santa at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver from 9:30am – 10:30am then get in the holiday spirit at the Christmas Square, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  From 10am until Noon, the Square features fun for kids, young and old face painting, gingerbread man and christmas ornament decorating, ‘letters to Santa’ writing stations and entertainment on the Main Stage. After the parade, head to Telus Garden at Seymour and West Georgia St, to get a picture with Santa.

With the big crowds it is best to plan ahead, take transit and arrive early. 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 December 17th, 2018.

Picks of the Week – November 29, 2017

We’re into the one month countdown to Christmas with more festive flair popping into the picks of the week.

Market: The Christmas Market season is in full swing with the Vancouver Christmas Market opening today, running until December 24, at Jack Poole Plaza plus Toque, River District craft fairs as well.

Snow: Until January 6th, help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade the Evil Queen in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre

Flamenco Rosario

Dance: The Dance Centre’s Discover Dance Series presents Flamenco Rosario on Thursday November 30th honours the traditions of dance with a lunchtime performance

Twinkle: Light up your nights with the Festival light displays all around Metro Vancouver; Lights of Hope, Canyon Lights, Bright Nights, Heritage Christmas, Glow Christmas, Lights at Lafarge all bring a little Christmas Spirit.

Oratorio: The spirit of the season and the sound of music fills the air as Early Music Vancouver presents Handel’s Messiah, November 30th in White Rock and December 1st & 2nd at Vancouver Playhouse.

Wheel: Take a ride on the Sky Wheel on the Pier at the Annual Shipyards Christmas Market December 2nd in North Vancouver; artisan market, family activities, entertainment, tree lighting and the weekend-only observation wheel sponsored by the Lower Lonsdale BIA.

Rock: American rockers, The National plays a two-night stand at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on December 1st and 2nd.

Sax: December 3rd, Kenny G plays some of his hits and holiday favourites at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s dramedy  The Day Before Christmas is onstage at the Goldcorp Stage until the day before Christmas, while fan favourite Onegin remounts the Arts Club, Granville Island Stage, until December 31st.

Scoop: At Firehall Arts Centre, until December 2nd,  Only Drunks And Children Tell The Truth tells the tale of the 60’s Scoop of indigenous children with truth and humour

Drag: The Christmas Queen is back to ruin Christmas for Vancouver Theatresports League and on Saturday nights, anything can, and will happen,  when Vancouver drag diva the Unstoppable Connie Smudge joins the stage,  it’s two queens for the price of one at Christmas Queen Drag Race.

Narnia: Carousel Theatre, invites families to step through the wardrobe as C.S Lewis’  The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe comes to the stage until December 31st.

Pucks: The Toronto Maple Leafs make a rare Western appearance as they visit Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.

St Nick: Santa Claus is coming to town as the 14th Annual (and newly renamed) Telus Santa Claus Parade makes it way through downtown Vancouver on Sunday afternoon. 

5 Lunar / Chinese New Year 2017 Events in Vancouver

Chinese LionFor millions of Chinese around the world, today is New Year’s Eve as tomorrow we begin the Year of the Rooster.   Food and family are hugely important during the Chinese New Year celebrations, here are a few of the entertaining and indulgent activities to do while ringing in Year 4714.

Fly Over Canada – a spectacular double bill ‘flies’ over Canada and through the peaks and valleys of Chinas vibrant landscape in the Flight Of The Dragon, until February 26th

Lunar Fest 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre plaza welcomes the whole family with entertainment, exhibits, crafts, markets and a search for the Golden Roosters contest, Jan 27-29.

Dr Sun Yat Sen Garden hosts the Coming Home: Traditions of Chinese New Year Exhibition until February 24, 2017 as well as the Year of the Rooster Temple Fair on January 29th.

International Village Mall and other Shopping Centres all around Metro Vancouver will host Chinese New Year events. International Village hosts one of the biggest and busiest events.  Exhibits, Craft & Flower Market, Stage Performances, Dragon and Lion Dances, Kids Activities, Prizes and more fill the Mall through until Sunday afternoon.

Chinatown Spring Festival, rings in the new year with a bang as firecrackers light the route of the 44th Chinatown Parade from 11am, along E Pender, Gore and Keefer Streets. After the parade watch for ‘the Lions’ as they visit and perform for local Chinatown businesses to bring good fortune through the new year.

Pride Picks of the Week – July 27, 2016

The peak of summer is upon us and with the BC Day Long Weekend means a packed line-up of pride picks of the week, here’s just a few of the events this weekend

Bingo: Join Carlotta Gurl and Mina Mercury when they host Pride Bingo For Life supporting Vancouver Friends For Life followed by Pride Cabaret Celebrity Drag Impersonation show

Keys: Tonight tune up your vocals for your Wednesday edition of Keys Piano Bar at XYYVR and then on Monday stay tuned for a special BC Day Keys On The Patio

Gurls: Junction Pride gets started with the Barron Gurl Show, the dynamic duo of Isolde N Baron and Carlotta Gurl presenting their Pride Extravaganza

Ultra: Grab your beach gear and hit up The Astoria, in East Van, for Ultraqueer Summer Bash a pride party for everyone with DJs Teen Spirit and Nikki Nevver

Underwear: Thursday night, Celebrities kicks off #ThisIsPride with DJ Pornstar & an Andrew Christian & Dirt Squirrel Underwear Fashion Show

Shower: The Odyssey’s Pride weekend kicks off with Shower Power Pride edition, with host Berlin warming up the crowd before the shower guys heat it up

YeeHaw: Country meets Pride on Thursday night when Yale Saloon hosts Honky-Twunk, a western-themed night hosted by Raye Sunshine

Cheers to the Davie Street Party
Cheers to the Davie Street Party

Street: Start your Pride Weekend with the Davie Street Dance Party Free entertainment and attractions all along Davie Street, from Burrard to Jervis pre-load a RFID wristband to grab a drink at the beer tents

Bootcamp: Big Roger Events Big Pride Weekend gets underway with a collab with Prism Events Bootcamp powered by Scruff happening at 560 Seymour featuring DJ Eddie Martinez and a performance by xxx star Christian Power.

Alternative: Friday night the Alternative Pride Festival presents Pride Is For Everyone an all inclusive, everything goes party for Everyone, Everybody and Every Body at 1965 Main Street

Sin: after Bootcamp head to Afterlife for Sin: Big Pride’s Friday after hours with DJ Luis Perez

Full: The O’s Pride Weekend continues with Full Length Feature Pride Friday with Hector Fonseca, Raye Sunshine, DJ/VJ Gingerbear and the O Boys

Playboys: XYYVR Pride Friday brings a Rapture 16 double bill of Fourplay & Playboy, a drag showcase hosted by Shanda Leer, followed by a hip hop and RnB night with Jane Smokr with DJ DomTop and Jef Leppard

Rhoda: #ThisIsPride Friday at Celebrities as A Club Called Rhonda, comes to town with the LA clubs residents Goddollars and Paradise

Funktion: Friday at Junction Pride it’s Funktion Pride: Blacklight party with DJ Drew and glowing GoGos

Ruff: The Pint is taken over by Mr Ruff and the Men of Ruff for Ruff Pride Friday featuring music by Mumbles, Karsten Sollars, Jay Douglas and Brian Maier

Pool: The heat is on at the Westin Grand pool when Rapture 16 Heatwave Pool Party makes a splash hosted by Tatiana with DJs Nick Bertossi, Quest and appearances by Brook Lynn Hytes and Gia Metric

Ahoy!: Sail away with Cruisey-T Pride Cruises, two sailings to choose from on Sunday; GoGo and Party Cruise after the Pride Parade and then on Monday the Pride Recovery Cruise wraps up your weekend

Glitter: Saturday night  head to The Imperial for Glitter: Big Pride Main Event 2016 with tunes by Del Stamp and Yinon Yahel

Style: Saturday is The O’s Signature Night: Pride Style with DJ Grind and Karsten Sollars

Play: Saturday’s Big Pride late night Play takes to Afterlife for afterhours fun with Mat Ste-Marie on the decks with Alyson Calagna

Dykes on Bikes kick off Pride Parade 15
Dykes on Bikes kick off Pride Parade 15

Parade: It’s the main event, the 38th Annual Pride Parade brings thousands to the streets of Vancouver as the participants make their way from Robson Street, to Denman and to Beach Avenue.

Sunset: Follow the Parade to the Sunset Beach Festival with entertainment galore

Drag: Untoxicated is an alcohol/drug free street party at Davie & Bute featuring Drag Stars Courtney Act, Morgan McMicheals and DJ Karset Sollors and a slew of local drag queens

Trouble: Get some South Beach style at Cabana Lounge when Big Pride’s 16th Annual Trouble T-Dance takes over Sunday afternoon with DJ Quest

Grrr: Get some rough and tumble at 560 Seymour for Bearracuda vs Pitbull – Pride Sunday 

Flygirl: Pride Hershe Bar – Where The Girls Are takes over two venues at 750 Pacific – Harbour and Prive rooms. with DJs Automaton with Rikki Rocket, Miss M, Kasey Riot and Armistice

Victory: Rapture Pride 16 wraps up Sunday with Victory, the pride closing party with DJ Paulo, Domtop and a performance by Shokra with an international line up of GoGos

Backdoor: Wrap up Alternative Pride Weekend at Backdoor Pride Edition in a unique location at The Villa 494 Railway with something for everyone and every body.



Origins & Celebrations of Victoria Day

Well before confederation Canada has been celebrating the May Long Weekend, in 1845 the colonial government recognized May 24th as Queen Victoria’s Birthday. Over a century later, we still celebrate Victoria Day on the Monday before May 25th.  Not only a celebration of Queen Victoria but also the Canadian Sovereign’s Official Birthday.

The status of the holiday varies across the Canadian Provinces and Territories but everywhere there is a celebration on Victoria Day (or in Quebec, National Patriots’ Day).
Here in BC, as expected, the Provincial Capital is a hub of Victoria Day celebrations, culminating in the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, today at 9am along Douglas Street.  Now in its 118th year, Victoria’s largest parade is a fun-filled day for the whole family, bringing out an annual crowd of 100,000+ and marks the unofficial kick off to summer for Victorians. Visiting Marching Bands perform all around Victoria for the weekend and the annual “Drum-Off” on the Parliament Buildings’ Lawn, is a crowd pleaser.

Wait for it….! #victoriadayparade2016

A video posted by GreaterVictoriaFestivalSociety (@victoriafestivalsociety) on

In New Westminster, the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Salute at Queen’s Park starting at 1130, has been taking place for 146 years.  The 21-Anvil salute was started in the early days of the Colony of British Columbia by the local fire department.  With no cannons available to perform a traditional 21-gun salute, the “Hyacks” as they were known, improvises by placing gunpowder between two anvils creating a tradition for the ages.

Whether you take in any local activities,  spend your Victoria Day with family and friends, or have to work on today, I hope you enjoy a great day and look forward to the summer ahead!