How Do You Spell Pride? P-A-R-T-Y!
If you’re looking for a good party this summer, you’ll find one at the many gay pride festivals held around the world. As well as their centrepiece parades, many of these events feature concerts, street fairs, comedy shows, film festivals and more.
Online travel dealmaker Cheapflights.ca has put together a list of top pride fests in Canada and international locations. You don’t have to go far – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver all host world-class parties, but if you’ve got a little wanderlust, you can jet off to Sao Paulo, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and San Francisco and see how it’s done there. A few highlights of this year’s festivities:
Vancouver – The Vancouver Pride celebrations are the largest in Western Canada, attracting more than half a million last year. This year’s festivities will focus on what it means to be free. Pride season begins June 26 with East Side Pride and culminates with the Pride Parade on August 1.
Montreal – The Montreal Pride Celebrations run from August 12-15 and promise an extravaganza of arts and entertainment peaking with the August 15 parade with the theme “Our Superheroes.”
Toronto – Pride Toronto is celebrating its 30th anniversary between June 25 and July 4 with a busy schedule of arts and entertainment. Queer icon Cyndi Lauper will headline at a free concert in Queen’s Park on July 3.
Sao Paulo, Brazil – Officially the world’s largest gay pride celebration, the Sao Paulo Brazil Gay Pride Parade attracted an incredible 3.1 million visitors in 2009, and expects to top 4 million this year. Celebrations run from June 3-7 with the headline parade set for June 6.
San Francisco, US – San Francisco’s Gay Pride Festival is the largest pride celebration stateside, and this year it’s marking its 40th birthday with the theme – ‘40 and Fabulous.’ On June 26 and 27, 19 stages and venues, 300 exhibitors, more than 200 parade contingents, and throngs of party-goers will descend on Market Street.
London, England – Like San Francisco, Gay Pride in London is marking 40 years on the front line of gay pride with its Festival Fortnight, June 19 – July 3. Highlights include film, art, theatre, comedy, walking bar tours and a barnstorming parade that will snake along some of London’s most historic streets.
St. Pierre & Miquelon: Europe Minus The Jet Lag
An anomaly in the Atlantic, the tiny islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon are a 45-minute flight from St. John’s, Newfoundland, but a continent apart in most ways.
Thanks to a quirk of history, the tiny islands and their 5,000 citizens remain firmly a part of the French Republic. Local currency is the Euro, TV shows are beamed in from France and the cuisine has a strong French base.
Atlantic Canada travel specialist Maxxim Vacations says it knows these fascinating islands well, and offers 2- or 3-night packages as an add-on to a trip to the Rock. If you’re going to go that far east in Canada, why not dip over to a pocket of France?
The St. Pierre and Miquelon package includes 2 or 3 nights B&B accommodation with continental breakfast, one three-course French cuisine dinner with wine, a guided tour of the town of St. Pierre and admission to the local museum. Prices start at $499 including airfare from St. John’s.
Those seeking to combine a visit to St. Pierre and Miquelon with a stay in Newfoundland might be interested in the week-long A Tale of Two Islands itinerary which also includes 3 nights accommodation in St. John’s, one night each in Harbour Grace and Burin or Marystown, a whale-watching boat tour, and a rental car.
Photo Credits: sfpride.org, st.pierre-et-miquelon.com