Rainbow Route – Vancouver’s 2023 Pride Parade

How a change in route led to a bigger, better, and more vibrant Pride Parade

Lea Krusemeyer (she/her) // Staff Writer
JJ Eng (they/them) // Illustrator

In a world that is constantly changing, it is no surprise that the 2023 Vancouver Pride Parade also decided to switch things up this year. The Parade stood as a shining example of a changing community coming together to celebrate diversity, equality, and the power of love. This year’s Pride Parade delivered a unique and unforgettable experience, thanks in big parts to its new route and a plethora of exciting events that were part of it.

The decision to change the parade route was met with criticism when announced. People in the queer community of Vancouver were taken aback by the decision to take the parade away from Davie Street and honestly, so was I. As someone who lives in Davie Village and views this area as my home, I did not understand why the parade was rerouted. My first instinct was to assume it had something to do with companies and profit and was all about how the parade could be even more commercialized. It took some thinking for me and for other people in the community to understand that yes, with change comes the possibility of failure, but this year’s parade was an immense success.

The new route allowed the parade to go along the beautiful seawall, which gave access to spectators from the streets, the buildings, but also the ocean. People gathered on boats, small and large, and got together to watch the annual event. Having the parade end near Pacific Boulevard also meant more people were able to attend the concerts, poetry events, and other festivities that were part of the 2023 Pride event. The decision to change the parade route this year was a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the LGBTQ+ community in Vancouver.

The new route showcased Vancouver’s diverse neighborhoods and highlighted the importance of LGBTQIA2S+ visibility and acceptance in all corners of the city. Starting from English Bay and winding its way through the West End along the ocean all the way through Yaletown towards Science World, the parade represented a message of unity and inclusivity. It encourages residents from all walks of life to join in the celebration, making it a true reflection of the city’s progressive values. This year’s parade was more accessible than the parades of previous years mainly because of the change of route. There were quiet zones, wheelchair-accessible areas, and scent-free zones set up all along the route.

Due to the convenient ending location of the parade, live performances and entertainment on Sunday captivated attendees and spread messages of love and acceptance to more people than ever before. From drag queens to local bands and even international stars of the community like Madison Rose from New York City or Trixie Mattel from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the stages were a testament to the diversity of talent within the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

As we came together to celebrate the 2023 Vancouver Pride Parade, we were reminded about the significance of this event. It is not merely a party, but a symbol of resilience, progress, and the unyielding commitment to equality for all. The new route and the addition of informative and entertaining events made this year’s Pride Parade an even more enriching experience for me, my friends, and hopefully all others who attended.

In a world that often feels divided, the Vancouver Pride Parade reminded us of the power of unity and the beauty of diversity. Let us embrace the change, cherish the history, and celebrate the progress as we look back on 2023 and forward to Pride 2024. Change is scary but it can offer more than we could have imagined. 

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