The City of Vancouver has announced that the heart of Davie Village will soon feature a permanently rainbow-coloured intersection.
City staff are planning to paint the crosswalks at the intersection of Davie and Bute streets during the week of July 22, just in time for Pride.
Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the crosswalk plan at his VIVA Vancouver press conference July 3, as he promised an expanded lineup of music, dance, art and creative spaces downtown and around the city this summer.
Robertson says the success of last Pride’s temporary rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Davie and Denman streets, coupled with community input gathered by the city’s LGBTQ advisory committee for the Davie Street revitalization report released last month, prompted the new crosswalks in the Village.
“We had a great trial last year, and the community has put a lot of input and discussion over this. I think we’ve got strong support to make this permanent in Davie Village and celebrate a great legacy and a promising future,” Robertson says. “It will be just in time for our world-class Pride parade and big festival that brings hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of the West End.”
“The advisory committee has done great work to advance the ideas and to make sure the community had a good, strong voice,” he adds.
“What’s really fabulous is that we’re seeing actions based on [the LGBTQ advisory committee’s] recommendations,” says Dean Malone, who sits on the committee and co-authored the Davie Street revitalization report.
“I think it says that the city recognizes the importance of the queer community on Davie Street,” Malone says.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he adds. “And the city says, ‘We don’t want you to go anywhere.’”
Councillor Tim Stevenson plans to help paint the rainbow crosswalks himself, just as he did last summer.
“Last year I managed to get them at Davie and Denman, so this year I said I’d like Davie and Denman, but more importantly, I’d like it right in the heart of the Village at Bute and Davie,” Stevenson says. “I worked that out with the city manager, and she’s agreed, and so they’re going to be put in.
“I think this is really exciting that we’ve come to this point," he says, "that we can make this intersection really festive with the rainbow colours to emphasize that this is the heart of the Davie Village.”
City staff say they plan to maintain the rainbow crosswalks year-round.
Stephen Regan, executive director of the West End Business Improvement Association, supports the colourful addition.
“We were aware of it and were encouraging it to happen sooner and in as much of the Village as possible,” he says. “We’re really pleased it is happening this summer.”
Regan says he hopes the Bute Street intersection successfully hosts other gay programming this summer, too, as planned for its Pride weekend open-air plaza.
“We’ve been talking about that for a while and how to mitigate challenges for businesses to still get their deliveries and to get the parking figured out,” he says. “But once that’s done it would be great to have a space that’s programmed and that’s interesting.”