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VPS wins InterPride conference bid

Delegates from around the world bound for Vancouver

The Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) won its bid to host the InterPride Conference in October of 2008.

“We’re putting ourselves onto the international stage,” VPS president John Boychuk told Xtra West, Oct 30. “We’re inviting representatives from around the world to come learn, share and experience Vancouver as a destination and role model for GLBT people from around the world.”

The VPS won the bid, with what Boychuk calls “overwhelming support,” at the annual meeting of international Pride organizers in Portland ME, Oct 29.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we feel that our bid proposal was received extremely well,” says Boychuk. “They felt that it was very well thought-out. At the end of the day, the oversight committee said that it was the best presentation they’d seen in eight years.”

The conference is expected to attract about 250 delegates from 51 Pride organizations around the US, Europe and South America.

“One of the things that we’re working on is a pre or post Alaskan tour on one of the cruise ships, and there’s fantastic interest,” he says. “By doing that, Vancouver isn’t just the conference; it’s a big tourist opportunity.”

Boychuk is hoping to form a partnership committee that includes the Davie Village Business Improvement Association, the Gay and Lesbian Business Association, TBB Productions and girlgig productions.

“It’s very exciting to know we’ll be forming one heck of a committee to truly represent all the ideas of the GLBT communities of Vancouver,” he says.

The event is expected to have a budget of about $200,000–about 10 percent more than it costs to finance Vancouver’s annual Pride Celebration–but Boychuk says the VPS itself will neither foot the bill nor be liable to cover any shortfall.

“The VPS will be giving some seed money to it, but will not be taking on the fiscal responsibility,” he says. “A separate corporation will be overseen by the VPS, but will limit the amount of fiscal accountability required for such a large conference.”

But the money for the event has to come from somewhere.

“A portion comes from registration fees,” explains Boychuk. “The average delegate pays about US$250 to attend. There is rollover money that comes from the previous InterPride conference, and there is a portion sought through sponsorship from local businesses as well as national and international partners.”

And if the event does incur a loss, someone will be left holding the bag.

“There’s an agreement that a portion would fall to InterPride and the balance of that is the corporation [overseen by the VPS],” says Boychuk, but he insists that the budget for the event will be a balanced one.