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The first glimpse of Whistler’s Olympic Pride House

with 11 comments

Consider it the rainbow nation’s answer to USA House and Canada House. When the 2010 Winter Olympic Games kick off in Vancouver on Friday, lgtb athletes and fans will, for the first time, have their own Olympic club house – a place to kick back, enjoy a cocktail or two, and watch the games on TV.

Here’s a first look at it. If you’re in Whistler for the Olympics, you will find Pride House in the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre.

Gay TV producer Morris Chapdelaine is modeling the Pride House staff jackets.

Around 30 or 40 people, mostly media and members of the Whistler gay community, attended the Monday grand opening celebrations. Aboriginal spiritual leader Sandra LaFramboise opened the ribbon-cutting ceremony with a blessing. Then there were speeches from, among other people, Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed, gay provincial politician Spencer Herbert and Pride House organizer Dean Nelson.

To hear what the Mayor of Whistler had to say, right click here and select “save target as” (or “save link as”) for the mp3.

To hear a little of Dean Nelson’s speech – including his provocative invitation to the Jamaican bobsled team – right click here and select “save target as” for the mp3.

And now for a look inside.

For an audio tour from Dean Nelson, right click here for the mp3 and select “save target as.”

Openly gay politician, Spencer Herbert (right), who is a member of the British Columbia assembly for the opposition New Democratic Party, chats with Morris Chapdelaine.

Lynn Gervais (right), PR Director for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, entertains some of the visiting media by Pride House’s souvenir boutique.

Dean Nelson, Ken Coolen and a friend pose inside Pride House’s “speakers chalet,” a place where visitors are invited to record their own video messages for a possible documentary.

This is Slapshotolus by Edmund Haakoson. I’ll write about it more later in the games, as Edmund is going to be visiting Pride House.

Dean Nelson and Ken Coolen drink a toast to the opening of Pride House before cutting the impressively-decorated cake.

There will be two more Pride House locations opening later this week in Vancouver’s gay village. If you’re in town for the Olympics, here is a list of confirmed Pride House events:

Feb. 12 – Opening Ceremonies party at Score sports bar (Pride House Vancouver’s community gathering place).

Feb. 19 – Photographer Jeff Sheng is at Whistler Pride House for the opening of his photo exhibit “Fearless,” a collection of photos of out gay athletes.

Feb. 20 – Jeff Sheng is in attendance at Whistler Pride House.

Feb. 21 – Jeff Sheng is in attendance at Vancouver Pride House.

Feb. 23 – Screening of the film “Training Rules” at the Pacific Cinematheque in downtown Vancouver. A panel discussion on homophobia in sport will follow, featuring guest Mark Tewksbury (Canadian gold medal swimmer and out gay athlete).

Feb. 25 – Screening of the film “The Politics of Pride” at the Pacific Cinematheque. A panel discussion will follow featuring members of PFLAG and film participants discussing the role of Pride in different cultural contexts.

Feb. 26 and 27 – Artist Edmund Haakoson, creator of “Slapshotolus,” will be in attendance at Whistler Pride House.

Feb. 28 – Closing Ceremonies party at Pride House Vancouver.

I’ll update this if new events are announced. Meanwhile, check back Thursday for photos from the opening of the first Vancouver Pride House location.


Written by heatherkitching

February 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM

11 Responses

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  1. I totally worked at that hotel


    February 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM

  2. NOt the first. Atlanta had a one in 1996


    February 10, 2010 at 6:50 PM

  3. Bravo to Vancouver! I recall visiting Atlanta’s gay Olympic welcome center in 1996 and it was wonderful.


    February 10, 2010 at 9:21 PM

  4. […] look at Whistler's Olympic Pride House. For the first time, LGBT athletes and fans have their own clubhouse at the Olympic […]

  5. I applaud this wonderful refuge. I do think the amount of pink in the overhead entrance banner is a bit much. This is a place for elite athletes. Why the color stereotyping?


    February 11, 2010 at 8:51 AM

  6. Ide love to work there …where I do I apply


    February 11, 2010 at 2:09 PM

  7. I am so honored and excited that my film, Training Rules, is showing in Pride House. Some years ago, we also filmed a great interview with your own Mark Tewksbury. Does anyone know where I can reach him?



    February 18, 2010 at 11:33 AM

  8. I had the opportunity to carry the Torch in Peachland on Jan. 25th. what a rush! As a gay man to see the Pride from all across this country and the world is fantastic. Way to go!

    My hat (toque) is off to all of us. Go Canada. Way to go, Pride Village.


    February 18, 2010 at 1:54 PM

  9. I encourage everyone to drop by the Whistler Olympic Pride house. I just interviewed Dean Nelson, the executive director of Pride House the other day. See it here and then take a virtual walk around pride house and Whister at


    February 20, 2010 at 9:12 PM

  10. Very refreshing to see that Vancouver understands the importance of having a LGBT space in its village. Coming from Montreal and involved with similar programs (such as upcoming group to raise awareness, its great to see barriers being broken.


    March 2, 2010 at 2:57 PM

  11. I have so many wonderful proud friends, it’s really great to see that Whistler and Vancouver support our gay communities and promote sports. Good to see.


    July 6, 2010 at 2:31 AM

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