Vancouver: The San Francisco of Canada

Canada’s most gay-friendly city, Vancouver is a jewel of the Pacific Northwest and a mecca for the LGBTQ community. From outdoor enthusiasts to coffee gurus and artists galore, the metropolis is home to a diverse group of people. Recently, they celebrated ten years of marriage equality and have often been referred to as “Canada’s San Francisco.”

A Quick History of Vancouver

A coastal seaport city in western Canada, Vancouver was originally inhabited by Aboriginal people some 10,000 years ago. The city was incorporated in 1886 and saw a surge in population from the Fraser Gold Rush, bringing in over 20,000 people.

Social movements that were instrumental in the city’s development include moral reform, first-wave feminist, and temperance movements. Today, it’s a thriving metropolis of big business, avid activism, and social acceptance.

Quick Vancouver Stats

  • Vancouver is ranked as the 10th cleanest city in the world.
  • It has the 4th largest cruise ship terminal on the planet.
  • The city is called the “Hollywood of the North.”
  • It’s home to Canada’s longest pool.
  • Botox was invented in Vancouver.

Here are some more fun facts about Vancouver

The LGBTQ Vancouver Community

Qmunity Bc's Queer Resource

This is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver that improves queer, trans, and two-spirit lives. Qmunity works to provide a safe space for the LGBTQ community and allies to feel welcome and fully self-express. It’s also a catalyst for community initiatives.

LOUD Business - LGBTQ Business Association Vancouver BC

Working to unite the LGBTQ business community, LOUD believes in helping people be stronger, louder, and together. The center offers everything from networking and philanthropy to events and workshops.

How’s the Weather There?

Vancouver is actually one of Canada’s warmest cities in the winter. By Canadian standards, the climate is rather temperate. It’s classified as marine west coast or oceanic but borders on a warm Mediterranean climate as well.

Additionally, Vancouver is one of the wettest cities in Canada. However, there are microclimates, so precipitation varies throughout the city. Annual average precipitation is 46.8 inches at the airport compared to 80.5 inches in North Vancouver. So, it really depends on where in the metropolitan area you live.

Key LGBTQ Events in the City

Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival

The annual LGBTQ pride event is held every year to celebrate the community and their allies. It’s put on by the Vancouver Pride Society, a non-profit run by volunteers. It happens in August.

Cherry Blossom Festival

This annual celebration marks the reawakening of the Vancouver community as a whole. It’s the city’s signature springtime event inspired by an age-old Japanese tradition of hanami (flower viewing). The mantra of the festival is “there is no stranger under the cherry tree.”

Celebration of Light

The Honda Celebration of Light is Vancouver’s annual music fireworks competition. People compete to see who has the best display. There is food, fun, and festivity.

The Best LGBTQ Vancouver Neighborhood  

Everywhere you go you will find acceptance in Vancouver, but for a more immersive LGBTQ experience, consider this vibrant neighborhood:

Davie Village

Also known as Davie District or Davie Street, this is the top gay neighborhood in Vancouver and is located in the west end. The area is centered around Davie street and includes Burrard and Jervis streets. All along Davie Street you’ll find a variety of cute shops, restaurants, hotels, and private residences.

The median price for homes in Davie Village is $680,000 with 49 homes currently listed. The asking price for property has increased since last year, while the number of homes has decreased.

One of the most famous places to visit in the neighborhood is Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium, a gay and lesbian bookstore. They are famous for ongoing legal battles with Canada Customs for LGBTQ rights. You will also see a massive amount of rainbow flags here flying from every business.

Recent enhancements to the village include the now world-famous rainbow crosswalks at the corner of Bute and Davie. The Heart of Davie Public Space Improvement Project is also looking at revitalizing the Jim Deva Plaza area.

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Arts and Entertainment

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

A performing arts venue in downtown Vancouver that regularly hosts opera, Broadway shows, and musical performances. The space has been designed to inspire performers and awe audiences. The theater is small but can host up to 220 people.

The Vancouver Art Gallery

This art museum is located in downtown Vancouver and occupies 165,000 square feet. This makes it the largest art museum in Western Canada. It was originally a courthouse and repurposed to hold a massive amount of art in the 1980s.

Parks and Recreation

Capilano Suspension Bridge

This is one of the most popular attractions Vancouver has to offer. Built in 1888, the bridge spans a total of 450 feet across and 230 feet over Capilano Canyon. The Capilano River runs directly below. It’s part of a private facility, so there is an admission fee. But the views alone are worth it. It sees more than 1.2 million visitors every year.

Stanley Park

A sprawling urban park that borders the downtown of Vancouver. It is surrounded by the waters of the English Bay and Burrard Inlet and is known for the incredible sunsets. Unlike most urban parks, this was not created by an architect. Rather, it’s a result of the natural evolution of forest in the urban space.

Check out This Nightlife

The Fountainhead Pub

This is a welcoming spot for the LGBTQ community featuring 16 beer taps, comfort food, pool, and a heated patio.

Score on Davie

This neighborhood hangout serves local wines and craft beers plus a delectable weekend brunch. It’s right on Davie so it’s surrounded by the LGBTQ community.


This lively gay bar offers up theme nights, casual pub fare, DJs, and drag shows.

Vancouver is one of the most welcoming cities for the LGBTQ community on the West side of the Americas. The streets are painted rainbow and the people are too. Any new queer resident will feel right at home!

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