2 min

Victoria Park to host Dyke March fest

City gives verbal confirmation

The new route keeps the Dyke March on the Drive, which is "definitely appealing for us," says organizer Sam Levy. Credit: Courtesy of the Dyke March and Festival Society

 The post-Dyke March festival will take place in Victoria Park this year, organizers confirm.

The change of venue became necessary after news that Grandview Park, the traditional home of the post-march festival, will be closed for construction from July 2010 to April 2011.

The switch to Victoria Park will not entail any major changes to the usual march route, organizers say.

The July 31 march will leave its customary start site, McSpadden Park, at noon and proceed along 5th Ave, turn north and head up Commercial Dr, then turn right on Kitchener St and on to Victoria Park, located between Salsbury and Victoria Ave.

The festival will run at its usual time, from 1-4pm.

VDM president Sam Levy says she got verbal confirmation from the Vancouver Park Board early last week that the festival has the green light to set up camp in Victoria Park.

“It’s still a verbal confirmation, because we haven’t actually finished the permits or anything like that, but that would be the proposed area,” says Yogi Omar, a booking clerk with the Vancouver Park Board.

“I’m just mindful of the fact that I don’t have a park permit in my hand,” Levy says, noting that historically the VDM doesn’t get its permit until much closer to the march date.

Levy says Victoria Park was the VDM’s first choice when they began scouting for an alternative to Grandview Park.

One of the appealing aspects of staging the festival at Victoria Park is its proximity to Grandview, she says.

“It’s not so far away that folks [who] show up to Grandview because they haven’t found out about the change in location can’t quickly hop over a couple of blocks.”

Another plus for the new venue is that it allows the march and festival to maintain their ties to the community in which it was born.

“One of the things that’s definitely appealing for us is being able to march down Commercial Dr,” she says. “That’s something that we find valuable and fits with our message around inclusiveness – family, community, Pride, visibility.

“As we’re walking down the street with lots of traffic, businesses, local community stuff, that sense of visibility is there,” Levy elaborates.

Levy points out that before McSpadden, Victoria Park was the start site of the first-ever Dyke March, seven years ago.

She says the physical infrastructure at Victoria Park is also comparable to Grandview, but notes that a stage will have to be built to accommodate performances.

Levy also anticipates some increased costs related to the permitting of the event.

“Our biggest challenge right now is going to be fundraising,” she notes.

The next step is for the VDM to meet with city, park, transit officials and police “to make sure everybody is comfortable and knows about the change.”

In the coming days, the board also plans to notify the community and residents around Victoria Park about the march and festival.

“It’s just formalizing what we’re going to do for this new neighbourhood,” Levy explains.