July 2006


Gay Vancouver

cute guys
Vancouver, without a doubt, exceeded my expectations.

I’d actually been a bit worried after reading their tourist guide because the offerings seemed a bit sparse, but in reality, the guide failed to capture the fact that Vancouver is a dynamic and alive city that appreciates diversity. While I was there I heard not just English spoken, but also Chinese, Japanese, Spanish (cutie!), German (ja!), and French (mais, oui!).

What blew me away most of all was the Vancouver’s acceptance of gays and lesbians. In a move that would be sure to draw a hurricane to Orlando, Florida, Vancouver has a ton of Rainbow Pride flags along the coast at English Bay, welcoming visitors of all kind to the beach.

Lee's Trail
Not only that the community acknowledges the fact that gay men can be annoying pigs, so they undertake creative solutions to problems that gay men cause. Jerry told me about the annual community condom cleanup along Lee’s Trail in Stanley Park—it’s a society event with photographs of the people picking up the used condoms published in the local rag. Not only does the community cleanup condoms, in the map for the pride guide, Lee’s Trail is specifically designated on the map, ignoring all the other trails in Stanley Park.

Meanwhile in the United States these types of cruising grounds are featured on local television in an attempt to shame the men who go there to get their rocks off. I still remember watching a report about a cruising ground near Evansville, Indiana, on television that feature the reporter telling shocked Mommies that men had been having sex in the woods near the picnic grounds—it was ratings time and I’m sure the TV station’s ratings benefited from victimizing gay men who like sex in the woods.

(Personally, I’ve never seen the attraction to sex in the woods. I’ve known a few people who do and all I can say is more power to you – and you should move to Canada.)

Davie StreetI didn’t really go out much whilst in Vancouver. My time out was limited to one evening with David, when we headed out to Davie Street and the Pump Jack bar, as well as time in Numbers. Unfortunately I sampled the bars on a Monday night and the results were probably typical for a Monday night. Pump Jack was quiet when we showed up half an hour before closing—I actually don’t remember much about the music, the conversation was more interesting (and, I might add, therapeutic—thanks David!). Numbers, on the other hand, had some nice eye candy, and decent music—something I really enjoyed in addition to the conversation.

The city also has a nice GLBT bookstore, Little Sister’s, which I visited and stumped the clerk when I asked her about gay Canadian authors (I can buy gay American authors everywhere). After a bit of searching, she came up with a few names and I picked out a mystery by Anthony Bidulka, Flight of Aquavit. I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far it’s quite engaging and well written.

It’s easy to see why Canada has such a great reputation. Vancouver’s gay scene is a vibrant part of the city, not isolated and detached, something that seems to happen all too often in other cities.

6 comments to Gay Vancouver

  • Oh yay. This post makes me feel so good about living here that I won’t spoil it by pointing out Vancouver’s substantial flaws in the tolerance department.

    Plus the positives pretty much outweight them anyway.

  • This post is quite an invitation for gay people (us) to travel there. I tried having sex in the woods and it feels quite an adventure heheheheh but the bugs really pissed me off.

  • Charlie, you just need to shag in the bug-free woods.

  • Am I the only one that finds the irony in the fact that the path to Beaver Lake is a crusing area for gay men?

  • Oddly, anybody seeking Beaver Lake and coming along this path, no matter where they started, are taking the most indirect route possible.

  • Will

    Glad you enjoyed Vancouver where hot guys abound! Too many of them, too little time.