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City okays extended Pride parade route

The city has given the Pride Society the go-ahead to extend the traditional parade route by seven blocks for this year’s celebrations, billed as the 30th anniversary of Vancouver Pride.

“We will now be able to start on the corner of Thurlow and Robson,” says Pride Society president John Boychuk, noting that both the Robson and West End business improvement associations have also endorsed the change.

The city’s special events manager, Muriel Honey, confirmed the approval of the new route following an Apr 2 city council meeting. From the corner of Robson and Thurlow, the parade will move west down Robson St, turn south on Denman St, and proceed along Beach Ave to its usual end point at Sunset Beach.

“Of the various options for extending the route, that was the one that worked out best for everybody,” Honey told Xtra West in February. She cited safety as the primary consideration for the extension.

The city also approved, in principle, the Pride Society’s request to stage a music and dance festival on Davie St on the Friday before the parade, Honey says.

Details of the street festival have yet to be determined since the plans only arrived the morning after council gave its approval, but it should take place on Davie St, between Burrard and Jervis Sts.

“We haven’t had a chance to clearly go over the specific plans for the festival from the Society,” says Honey. “We don’t anticipate any problems but I’m not going to say whatever they’ve asked for has been approved because we haven’t had a chance to look at it and talk about it.”

For his part, Boychuk says it’s up in the air whether the Pride Society will proceed with the event, despite city approval.

“We want to make sure it is a complete, well thought out plan before we make the decision as a board,” says Boychuk, citing financial and logistical concerns. He anticipates a final decision will be made at the next board meeting.