'Pride can't be cancelled': Vancouver society kicks off week of celebrations
VANCOUVER -- Many annual events in Metro Vancouver look quite different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Pride Week festivities are no exception.
The annual weeklong celebration kicked off in Vancouver Monday, but most of the events held over the coming days will be available virtually.
"Pride can't be cancelled. A lot of folks, especially in the LGBTQIA2S+ community really have been severely impacted by COVID-19," said Catherine Jenkins, one of the co-chairs of the Vancouver Pride Society, at a ceremony outside city hall.
"A lot of folks that were socially isolated before are even more socially isolated now. So we're really mindful of the ways that we can celebrate our community and uplift our community right now."
The city hall ceremony included a reading of the Pride Week proclamation by Mayor Kennedy Stewart and raising of Pride flags.
Here are some of the virtual events taking place between July 27 and Aug. 2:
Over the course of the day Monday, six couples were scheduled to get married in separate, physically distanced ceremonies as part of the city's micro-wedding program.
A maximum of 10 people was allowed at each wedding and physical distancing measures were in place.
The weddings were all sponsored in part by the Vancouver Pride Society.
Five anti-racism workshops are scheduled throughout Pride Week and they'll run live on Zoom. All participants must register in advance through Eventbrite to receive a Zoom link and password.
"Queer communities have had a whiteness problem for too long. It is not enough to 'not be racist' – we need to strive to be anti-racist," Vancouver Pride Society's website says about the event.
More information on each of the individual workshops – along with links to Eventbrite – can be found on the event's Facebook page.
Pride Art Walk
All week long, large-scale public art pieces by local queer, two-spirit and transgender artists will be on display in Vancouver's West End.
A Pride Art Walk map is available and the Vancouver Pride Society has teamed up with VocalEye to offer descriptive video of the pieces.
The Vancouver Pride Society has partnered with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to create a live-streamed variety show called Symphonic Pride.
The show will feature local performers accompanied by members of the orchestra.
That event can be watched online on July 31 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Virtual Pride Parade
From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, online celebrations will take the place of the annual Vancouver Pride Parade. A documentary produced just for this year's celebration will air online, featuring footage from years of past parades.
A one-hour virtual "parade" will showcase creative submissions and then a main stage show at Sunset Beach will be live streamed with more than a dozen performers signed up.
A full calendar of events is available on Vancouver Pride Society's website.