From July 1st to July 10th, Victoria will be celebrating our vibrant LGBTQ community during Pride Week! The big event is the Victoria Pride Parade and Festival, taking place on July 10th. The parade begins at 12 pm and marches down Government Street to MacDonald Park, where the party really begins! The Victoria Pride Festival is held in MacDonald Park from 1-6 pm and features live entertainment, a beer garden, a food court, multiple vendors and activities for kids. The entirety of Pride Week is hosted by the Victoria Pride Society.
Victoria’s first Gay Pride parade was (unofficially) held in 1991, and has grown in popularity each year. The parade and festival are now expected to bring tens of thousands of people together on July 10th, including city councilors, mayors and police officers from each of Victoria’s municipalities. Last year, city officials painted the crosswalk directly across from City Hall with the colours of the pride flag, showing support and solidarity for the LGBTQ community. We at The Pedaler are proud to support the LGBTQ community as well as Victoria Pride Week and hope to see everyone at the festival! Like all events in Victoria, road closures and parking can make driving downtown difficult. Try riding your bike instead! It’ll make travelling from your parade viewing spot to the festival at MacDonald Park significantly easier, and save time (and energy) trying to find parking.
The history of Gay Pride parades is not without conflict. When a popular gay bar called the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village was raided by police in June of 1969, there was an uprising in the LGBTQ community. There was a nearly a week of riots, now known as the Stonewall Riots, which brought the issue of LGBTQ rights into the spotlight. The year following the Stonewall Riots, the community commemorated the turmoil with the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day march on June 28, 1970. Despite the initial fears of those participating, the Christopher Street parade turned out to be a massive success and led to the growth of Gay Pride parades across North America.