The Hush float during the Pride Parade on Government Street.

The Hush float during the Pride Parade on Government Street.

It’s pride time!

The first time David Tillson went to the pride parade in Victoria, he walked away feeling liberated and empowered.

The first time David Tillson went to the pride parade in Victoria, he walked away feeling liberated and empowered.

He was 30 years old at the time and decided to dress up and roller skate in the parade. Sporting an orange sundress, hard hat, orange umbrella and big blonde wig, Tillson found a place he finally felt welcome.

“When you’re young and you’re feeling oppressed and you’re different, suddenly you realize there is other people like you and the world isn’t such a horrible place that it can be,” said Tillson, who’s been the president of Victoria’s pride society for the last 12 years.

“I think it’s really encouraging. That was a beautiful day.”

The Victoria Pride Society started as a casual picnic in Beacon Hill Park more than 20 years ago and continues to focus on supporting inclusiveness, accessibility and diversity. It has staged the week-long celebration of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in the city for a number of years, drawing thousands of people from far and wide.

This year’s pride week kicks off with the memorial dragball game on July 1, followed by nine days of various events, 120 vendors and a beer garden for 1,800 people. The week wraps up with the colourful pride parade, which has 110 entries, and the festival on Sunday, July 10. People from all walks of life are encouraged to walk the parade route.

This year organizers are expecting to draw 10,000 people to the festival at MacDonald Park, which will feature two stages of entertainment, a kid’s camp and newly added Queer Town.

Leading up to the week-long celebration, Tillson’s “to do” list kept growing as emails continually flooded his inbox with tasks that still need to be done. Planning for pride week began in December. Tillson is always amazed how many people show up for the celebrations each year.

“I don’t know where everybody comes from. Suddenly they all show up,” he said with a laugh. “I just hope they meet new people and they have new experiences and I hope they enjoy themselves and maybe learn something new.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed as Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

A property at 1224 Richardson St. in Victoria is the subject of a rezoning application that seeks permission to build three low-rise buildings with 24 units, including four that would rent for below market rate. (Google Streetview)
Victoria development in Fairfield features subsidized housing element

Public hearings this Thursday (Jan. 28) for proposals on Richardson Street and Heywood Avenue

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kairry Nguyen on Jan. 27, 2020 after Tenessa Nikirk was found guilty for striking Bui in a Saanich crosswalk. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Driver convicted of dangerous driving after hitting Leila Bui out on bail

Tennesa Nikirk was convicted for striking then 11-year-old Leila Bui with her car

Victoria police made 22 warrant enforcement arrests Jan. 27 as part of its #VicPDWarrantWednesday project. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Victoria police make 22 arrests during #WarrantWednesday

VicPD says arrests part of warrant enforcement project

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read