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Vancouver’s Olympic Pride House opens

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Volunteers from Qmunity, Vancouver’s lgtb community center, put the finishing touches on the stage area.

The weather wasn’t as cooperative in Vancouver as it was in Whistler. It is, after all, February. Still, there was a decent-sized crowd of about 100 by the time the festivities started.

The duo Sugar Beach kicked things off with its song “Living Out Proud.”

Qmunity executive director Jennifer Breakspear welcomed everyone to Pride House.

Right click here to download an mp3 of some of her comments. (I’m pretty sure she meant to say “Atlanta” rather than “Atlantic City.”)

Two out gay politicians: federal New Democratic Party representative Bill Siksay (l) and city councillor Tim Stevenson.

To hear Tim’s speech, right click here for the mp3.
To hear Bill’s, right click here.

This is Marion Lay, an out lesbian athlete who competed for Canada in the 1964 and 1968 Olympic swim competitions. She won a bronze medal in 1968. Recently, she served on the board of VANOC, the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee.

To hear what Marion had to say, right click here to download an mp3.

Sorry this next picture is blurry. Everything happened rather quickly. This was a very creative and extremely Canadian way to cut the ribbon: two members of the gay hockey league, dressed in Team Canada jerseys, stick-handled their way through the pink streamer.

Now for a look inside. If you’re in Vancouver for the Olympics, you’ll find Pride House – aka Qmunity – at 1170 Bute Street, just off Davie. You can’t see it in this photo, but there’s a big Pride House decal on the glass door.

While Pride House Whistler is located in one of the resort town’s swankier hotels, Pride House Vancouver is situated in Vancouver’s lgtb community center, which, like a lot of chronically under-funded social services, lacks some of PHW’s modern decor. That said, the staff have pulled out the stops to be helpful and welcoming.

This is Qmunity board co-chair Craig Maynard sporting one of their Pride House ambassador shirts.

Barefoot Wine and Bubbly were on hand handing out free bubbly and goodie bags.

“What’s in the bag?” you ask.

Hedy Fry, who represents Vancouver Centre (including the gay village) in the federal parliament, was another guest of honor at the Pride House launch.

To hear her speech, right click here to download the mp3.

Pride House Van also has a little souvenir boutique.

We may all play on the same team, but clearly we won’t all be cheering for the same team. Things could get interesting around here when the anticipated Canada vs. U.S.A. hockey final comes around.

Speaking of the sports, Pride House Vancouver has a TV in the living room where you can hang out and watch the games. If you’d like to buy a meal, order cocktails and watch on the big screen though, you need to go across the road to the Pride House celebration venue, Score on Davie.

Score will be hosting the Pride House opening ceremonies party tomorrow (that would be Friday) at 6. Tickets are already sold out, but I’ll post pictures here.

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Written by heatherkitching

February 12, 2010 at 12:25 AM

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