Vancouver's gay and lesbian scene is part of the city's culture rather than a subsection of it. The legalization of same-sex marriage here makes it a popular spot for those who want to tie the knot in scenic style. But if you just want to kick back and have a good time, this is also Canada's top gay-tastic party city.
Gay & Lesbian by Neighborhood
- Downtown & West End West End's Davie St is Vancouver's gay scene central.
- Commercial Drive Traditional center of Vancouver's lesbian community.
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The West End's Davie St is the center of Vancouver's gay scene. Sometimes called the Gay Village, this is Canada's largest 'gayborhood' and is marked by rainbow flags, hand-holding locals and pink-painted bus shelters. There's a full menu of scene-specific pubs and bars, and it's a warm and welcoming district for everyone, gay or straight. Find the perfect spot sitting at a street-side cafe pretending to check your phone while actually checking out the passing talent; you can expect to make friends pretty quickly here. Vancouver's Commercial Dr is a traditional center of the lesbian scene. The city is highly gay-friendly, so you can expect events and happenings all around the city.
You're unlikely to run out of places to hang with the locals in Vancouver's lively gay scene. Davie St, in particular, is home to a full bar-crawl of diverse gay-driven watering holes, from pubby haunts to slick lounge bars. You'll also find places to shake your thang on the dance floor here. But it's not all about the West End: look out for gay-friendly nights at clubs and bars around the city. Peruse some options at www.gayvancouver.net/nightlife.
Showing how far the scene has progressed since the days when Vancouver's gay community was forced to stay in the closet, Pride Week is now Canada's biggest annual gay celebration. Staged around the first week of August, the centerpiece is the parade – a huge street fiesta of disco-pumping floats, drum-beating marching bands and gyrating, barely clad locals dancing through the streets as if they've been waiting all year for the opportunity. In 2016 Justin Trudeau marched in the parade, becoming the first Canadian prime minister to do so. The parade is only the most visual evidence of Pride Week; this is also the time to dive into galas, drag contests, all-night parties and a popular queer film fest. Book your area hotel far in advance, since this is a highly popular event for visitors. During the same week, East Vancouver's annual Dyke March concludes with a festival and beer garden in Grandview Park on Commercial Dr.
- Check the online directory of the Gay & Lesbian Business Association of BC (www.loudbusiness.com) for all manner of local businesses, from dentists to spas and hotels.
- For local events and the inside track on the community, check www.gayvancouver.net and www.gayvan.com.
- Head to www.superdyke.com for insights on the local lesbian scene.
- For support and resources of all kinds, Qmunity (www.qmunity.ca) provides discussion groups, a health clinic and advice for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgendered.
- Contact Vancouver Pride Society (www.vancouverpride.ca) for the latest info on the Pride festival.