Vancouver Pride festivities boost local economy
CTV British Columbia
Published Saturday, August 4, 2012 2:05PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 4, 2012 6:47PM PDT
Vancouver businesses are preparing for a boom as thousands of people are set to pack into downtown Sunday for the city’s annual Pride parade.
For the Fountainhead Pub on Davie Street, it’s the biggest weekend of the year.
“We've had people coming in all week from out of town,” Steven Schelling from the pub said. “We're talking at least 50 per cent growth over our biggest day on the weekend alone.”
R & B Brewing Company has also been busy pumping out thousands of litres of its Vancouver Pride beer called G’Ale.
“It's a golden ale, so it’s got a nice sort of light, malty body to it,” owner Barry Benson said.
He’s already sold 80 kegs and expects the brew will be a big hit.
“It’s kind of unknown, but we think it’s going to be quite huge,” Barry said.
Local hotels are also tapping into the market by providing Pride-themed packages.
The OPUS Hotel special includes breakfast for two and a late checkout.
“Part of proceeds from every booking goes towards the Pride society. So there's different levels of why we want to get involved in the community, and of course we want to try and capture more business,” general manager Nicholas Gandossi said.
Despite the hike in activity, there are no definite numbers on the economic impact of the Vancouver Pride festivities in the city. The Vancouver Pride Society plans to carry out a study, but in the meantime is relying on rough estimates based on numbers from Grey Cup celebrations.
“The number of people, the amount of economic impact, divided one into the other, and we came out with close to $700 million in economic impact for events. Now, that's very unscientific; however, it's probably not so terribly far off,” Rose Hamilton of the Vancouver Pride Society said.
Tourism Vancouver also doesn’t have a breakdown of visits related to the Pride festival, but says the event is one of the reasons August is the city’s busiest month of the year.
In August 2011, there were more than 1.1 million overnight visitors. But in July 2011, the next busiest month in Vancouver, there were 97,000 fewer overnight visitors.
“We're looking at lots and lots of hotel stays, people coming and staying for a week. We have a lot of repeat visitors out of this, people coming from out of town,” Hamilton added.
“It’s our weekend, so everybody wants to celebrate,” Schelling said.
The 2012 Vancouver Pride Parade starts at 12 p.m. on Aug. 5. It will move west from the intersection of Robson and Bute streets before turning down Denman Street and running all the way to Beach Avenue at Jervis Street.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Maria Weisgarber