East Side Pride: The Happiest Day in June

Image credit: Shannon Ruth Dionne Miller

By Rachel Rosenberg

Summer is here and Vancouverites are already flocking to parks and beaches on sunny, lively weekend afternoons. On Saturday, June 22, there is the return of Vancouver Pride Society’s annual event: East Side Pride, a daylong celebratory festival to tide us over until August.

The family-friendly event, located on Commercial Drive at Grandview Park (1657 Charles Street), runs from noon until 6:00 pm. Here are some ideas about what to do while you are there:

Learn about Vancouver’s Queer History with Glenn Tkach

This year, the Vancouver Pride Society’s theme is 50 Years and Still Fighting – in honour of Stonewall’s 50th anniversary. If you don’t know about Stonewall, that is the name of the NYC bar where the first major LGBTQ2+ uprising took place, a riot that has since led the current practice of pride parades. If you want a longer dive into the story, then you can read about the riot’s historic significance here. Alternatively, you can enjoy The New York Times’ interesting video breakdown of the events myths and facts. If you would like to hear about important queer moments specific to Vancouver’s history, Glenn Tkach will be at the festival. Tkatch is from The Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tour and The Really Gay History Tour, so you know that he will be an enthralling storyteller.

Eat, Eat Eat!

From 11 am onwards, there will be three on-site food trucks: Stò:lō Bannock has delicious, gluten-free bannock; Come Arepa provides yummy Venezuelan food; and Chickpea’s vegan Mediterranean food always has a long line of devoted fans. All of those options will be delicious for a picnic, so bring a soft blanket and get comfortable with a yummy meal.

Image credit: Shannon Ruth Dionne Miller

Local Artists Galore and Tonye Aganaba as MC

Multidisciplinary artist Aganaba returns as the festival’s MC, and the event will be packed with fun performances by the Rainbow Concert Band, Fallen Stars, Parlour Panther, Jason Qiu, and Gisun. If that isn’t enough, don’t worry because Vancouver Pride Society has arranged more: Tuck Entertainment will be providing the festival with awe-inspiring drag performances throughout the day. If salsa dancing is a skill you’ve always wanted, there will be free lessons from Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba.

Wander the Drive

You have learned how to salsa, eaten a Sabich, and rocked out to local bands. Maybe you just need to stand and walk for a bit? Commercial Drive itself is an exciting street lined with cafes, gelaterias, restaurants, shops and more, so you can definitely walk around for an interesting change of pace before heading back to watch more performances.

This festival isn’t one you will want to miss, especially with this year’s emphasis on queer history, so gather your favourite people and schedule it in to your calendar as soon as you can.

Image credit: Shannon Ruth Dionne Miller


Rachel Rosenberg is a writer and library technician who is a proud member of the LGBTQ2+ community. She writes for Book Riot and can be found on Twitter @LibraryRachelR

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