Big crowds expected at Vancouver Pride Parade

For the first time since 2019, the Vancouver Pride Parade will weave through the streets of the West End on Sunday afternoon from noon, and the Pride festival returns to Sunset Beach.

COVID-19 forced organizers to put the annual August long weekend Pride events online for the past two summers.

West End resident Devon Schultz dressed herself and her dog Gucci in rainbow outfits and visited Jim Deva Plaza Friday to mark the return of the in-person Pride.

“I’m so glad Pride is back. It’s been two long, long years and it’s just so nice to be together again,” said Schultz.

“Together Again” was overwhelmingly chosen as the theme of the event this year.

“We’re looking forward to it. We’ve missed it, the energy that’s there, the community feedback, that excitement about the events is energetic and exciting,” said Keple.

With scorching hot temperatures expected all weekend, she is urging parade and festival-goers to be prepared.

“Put on a sun hat, cover yourself up, reapply that sunscreen and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize,” Keple said. There will be water stations along the parade route and on Sunset Beach, so she asks everyone to bring a refillable bottle.

Surrey teacher Annie Ohana was chosen as one of the grand marshals of the parade.

“For me as an educator, being front and center is a really poignant message that as educators we can do so much to provide that security, that happiness, that pride, in one’s identity,” Ohana said. “So being a Grand Marshal is an opportunity to spread that message far and wide.”

“Annie Ohana as a Grand Marshal, so elated, full activist at heart, always fighting for those who experience layers of oppression,” said Keple, adding that while the Pride parade has become a celebration for everyone, it’s important to remember that it was not always welcome on the streets of Vancouver, and it took years of activism to bring about change.

“This year reminds us how good we are when we’re together,” she said. “That energy and that spirit, celebrating the win, is a reminder of the work that needs to be done. And this weekend? A party.”

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