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Show Your Pride as Canada Celebrates the LGBT Community

28 August 2014

The Canadian LGBT market is worth more than $7 billion annually, with top destinations including Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, according to Travel Gay Canada. Whether you’re a big spender or just venturing beyond the biggest LGBT destinations, there’s plenty of gay pride to celebrate in Canada. Here’s a roundup of events from pride parades to film festivals honoring the best in queer storytelling and arts.

Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Every August, Vancouver's Queer Film Festival features films highlighting the moments of queer people. The festival comes from Out On Screen, a organization showcasing queer stories for the past 26 years. Tickets start as low as $8 for single and Gala tickets on up to $165 for a super pass. The latter gives flexible options including front-of-line privileges, full access to all Galas, screenings and parties. This year's line-up of artists includes Askold Kurov of the film Leninland, Desiree Akhavan of Appropriate Director and genderqueer porn performer Jiz Lee among others. Films are shown at venues all over Vancouver, including at The Junction Pub, Fan Club, Tides Canada and Vancouver Playhouse.

WorldPride Toronto

Mark your calendars for June summer of 2015 and come celebrate gay pride at the WorldPride Festival presented by Pride Toronto. Over a week of festivities range from a WorldPride Gala and Awards ceremony to a Trans and Dyke march and closing ceremonies. Past events boasted rag artists and youth programs like Black Queer Youth. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy live music and demonstrations throughout the city for free. Guests are welcome to march in the parade with the purchase of a marching or vehicle permit ranging from $100 on up to $1,250 for commercial vehicle entries. Check the WorldPride Toronto website for updated dates and discount codes for Air Canada before purchasing airfare.

Edmonton Gay Pride

More than 30 years old, the Edmonton Pride Festival is one of Western Canada's largest LGBT festivals. Slated for June of each year, the festival hosts artists like drag queen stars like Detox and William and Vicky Vox. Many festivities throughout the city are free including drag queen entertainment, music and other entertainment. Check the website for upcoming promotions and discounts. Last year, Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel offered $114 rates to guests of the festival complete with complimentary parking.

Calgary Fairy Tales International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Brought to the public by the non-profit and charitable Fairytales Presentation Society, this unique film festival celebrates local and national queer artists of all mediums. Their film festival attracts over 14,000 guests with advance single tickets starting at $12 on up to $100 for a full festival pass including events, galas and screenings. Look for upcoming March 2015 dates to kick off the next fairy tales celebration.

Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival

Head to Vancouver for the Queer Arts Festival for an annual artist-run showcase. Peruse through collections of queer arts, culture and history. Events range from art auctions to reading to youth events and plenty of parties to connect with the queer community. Keep an eye out for July, 2015 dates for a three-week-artist-run trans-disciplinary arts festival. Ongoing events occur throughout the year like the Queer Songwriters of a New Generation.

Get Involved in the LGBT Community

Get involved in the community by giving back and getting screened. Spread the word about programs like Central Alberta's CAANS for regular "Poke for Prevention" providing vaccinations for Tetanus, Hepatitis A&B and influenza for the LGBT community.

Before the festivals kick off, plan a festivity of your own with friends exploring the Old City in Montreal, the mountains of Vancouver or take your group boating in Alberta. Plan out your gay pride calendar and ask festival organizers about local charities to donate to or volunteer to help run the event. Happy pride!