Alberta is well known for its beautiful rainbows, whether they are shining above Lake Louise or the wide-open prairies. But the province is also known for celebrating an even brighter rainbow thanks to its history of passionately celebrating gay pride with festivals and events that grow in size and diversity every year.
From big-city parties to smaller events in the Rocky Mountains, Alberta welcomes and celebrates all members of the LGBTQ community. With events throughout the year, it’s always a great time to celebrate Pride in Alberta.
Late August – early September
Calgary has been celebrating Pride for more than 20 years. It’s a wide-ranging and diverse 10-day festival that culminates in a family-friendly parade that attracts more than 60,000 enthusiasts every year. Some of the festival’s highlights include the Premier’s Pride Brunch, Pride in the Park, Gay History Walks, drag cabaret, outdoor movie screenings, concerts and, of course, some pretty amazing parties.
Medicine Hat Pride
Medicine Hat is home to one of the province’s newest Pride events. In 2016, the southern Alberta town marks its fifth Pride festival that celebrates diversity in a close-knit LGBTQ Community. The festivities features everything from bowling to fashion shows.
For a town of 4,000 people, Jasper’s Pride celebrations pack a punch. For four days a year, the mountain town, normally known for its skiing and picturesque panoramas, becomes home to hundreds of LGTBQ visitors looking to celebrate. The festival features more than 25 events, some with mountain-inspired twists like Sledding with Pride, Pride on the Hill and Ice Pride. Many of the area’s hotels offer special discounts through Pride as well.
Alberta’s capital of Edmonton has been celebrating Pride for almost 40 years and the celebration seems to grow every year. The organization is active throughout the year, so you can rest assured that there’s always events going on. But during the Pride festival, you can look forward to rallies, fairs, poetry readings, art shows, picnics, sporting tournaments, a film festival and an awards show. The Pride Parade features more than 100 floats, with 3,000 participants.
Lethbridge Pride Fest
Alberta’s most southern Pride Festival is nearing its 10th year and is growing every instalment. Over that time, it went from a one-day celebration to an event that lasts throughout the summer. With a focus on understanding and education, Lethbridge Pride Fest features author readings, games nights, a youth dance, and a parade. In 2016, the community painted its first rainbow crosswalk, something that will undoubtedly become an annual tradition.
Many other Alberta towns and regions, including Banff, Grand Prairie, Central Alberta and Cold Lake have annual Pride events as well, so keep an eye out wherever you are travelling.