City Guide for the LGBTQ+ Traveler: Vancouver

By Soren Rivero

Where To Find Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ Scene

The LGBTQ+ scene started sometime around the 20th century in Vancouver, though the actual date is fuzzy. A good chunk of the rich queer history in this city was documented by archivist Ron Dotton who started recording queer history around the 1970s. Activist Glenn Tkach hosts a “Really Gay History Tour” every Sunday (except during that winter) in which you can learn all about the history of the LGBTQ+ scene in Vancouver. Tkach hosts this tour at Davie Village, known as the “gay village”, which is a prideful area located at the crossing of Davie Street, Jervis Street, and Burrard Streets. It’s here that you’ll find the majority of gay clubs and bars.

Davie Street is the first street in Canada to have constructed a permanent rainbow crossing (installed in 2013), placed right at the intersection of Davie Street and Bute Streets. The intersection now has multiple rainbow crossings created in a square shape, signalling that you’re at the heart of the gay scene in Vancouver. From here, you can see numerous different pride flags hanging from nearby establishments, LGBTQ+ couples taking cute photos, and plenty of murals honoring the LGBTQ+ community.

Just nearby, there’s also Jim Deva Plaza. It serves as a memorial to Jim Deva who was one of the pioneer’s of the gay movement in Vancouver. There’s also the lesbian hot spot, The Drive, as it's way far east of Vancouver at Commercial Drive.

Annual Events

If you’re wanting to experience all of the Vancouver LGBTQ+ scene, your best bet is to come in late summer or early fall because of Vancouver’s world famous Pride Week. Throughout this whole week you’ll see numerous Pride parades, social events, bars changing their themes, and more.

There is also the Vancouver Dyke March (August), the Queer Arts festival in July, and the famous BOLDFest where lesbians from all over Canada come to celebrate lesbian lives and culture.

October is LGBTQ+ history month, at which events such as readings and tours will be more common throughout the city. You’ll be able to experience the local history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, how it affected the rest of Canada, and more.

Where To Go

Taking a trip to Vancouver during one of the warmer seasons? Take a trip over Wreck Beach! Here you’ll see many queer people visiting the beach and hosting beach parties, get togethers, and overall having a great time. Be warned — this is a clothing-optional beach! It's also about a half hour away from the trailhead, so be ready to walk some distance.

Now you can’t truly experience the LGBTQ+ scene in Vancouver without having a nice night out! Luckily, there are many bars that welcome LGBTQ+ members, some of the best being in Davie Village!

Check out 1181 Bar + Lounge to enjoy good music, drinks, and culture. It’s much more lowkey than other bars, but they’re still quite the trendy location! Be sure to check out one of the drag shows every Sunday night.

Want something a little more theme-based and flamboyant? Pumpjack Pub has what you need! This bar hosts a variety of different themed-nights. One of the more famous ones are the Wet n’ Wild nights where people get… well, wet and wild.

Numbers Cabaret has a huge sign that glows rainbow colors and the entire building is ornamented with pride flags. Even walking into this club is an experience, as the stairs are rainbow colored, too. As the longest standing gay club in Vancouver, this club will surely spark something inside of you!


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