Author: GOeBlogger

June 16, 2021

June is Pride Month. It's a time when we celebrate diversity and LGBTQ+ communities, acknowledge their history and the hardships they have endured, and the progress that has been made. In this post, we go over the History of Canadian Pride, and the important milestones and events that occurred across Canada. We've adapted the timeline from Queer Events, but if you're interested in a full detailed timeline, check it out here!

  • May 14, 1969 Decriminalization of Homosexuality
    • Canada decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults with the Criminal Law Amendment Act introduced in December 1968; it received royal assent on June 27.
  • August 1, 1973 Pride Week '73 Emergence & Shift to Gay Liberation
    • Pride Week was a national LGBT rights event held in August 1973 in many Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Activities included an art festival, dance, picnic, documentary showing, and a rally for gay rights that occurred in all the participating cities.
    • This event represented the shift from the homophile movement into the gay liberation movement, showing the emergence of the concept of gay pride.
  • August 1, 1981 Vancouver's First Official Pride Parade
    • Vancouver's earliest Pride celebrations began when the Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) organized a picnic and art exhibit in Ceperley Park.
  • December 8, 1986 Little Sister's Bookstore Seizure
    • On December 8, Canada Customs seized 500+ books and magazines sent to Little Sister's using the 1847 Customs Act prohibiting the importing of books with "immoral or indecent character" that allowed customs officials to confiscate shipments of supposedly obscene titles at their own discretion.
    • Among the 58 titles seized are Jean Genet's Querelle and four other books available at the Vancouver Public Library. It takes the store two years and $5,000 in legal fees to get the government to admit that it should never have seized the magazines in the first place. By then, unfortunately, the magazines had been burned.
  • July 20, 1990 Two Spirit (niizh manidoowag)
    • The term Two Spirit (niizh manidoowag) is created at the third annual Native American/First Nations Gay and Lesbian Conference in Winnipeg. The term allows Indigenous LGBTQ+ folks to reject other English terms that impose the Western views of gender and sexuality on indigenous people.
  • June 20 1996: Bill C-33: Sexual Orientation Included in Canadian Human Rights Act
    • The federal government passed Bill C-33, adding "sexual orientation" to the Canadian Human Rights Act which covers federally-regulated activities.
    • This Act amended the Canadian Human Rights Act, to include sexual orientation among the Act's prohibited grounds of discrimination. This inclusion was a declaration by Parliament that gay, lesbian and bisexual Canadians are entitled to "an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives they are able and wish to have [...]"
  • June 10, 2003 First Same-sex Couple Marry in Ontario
    • Michael Leshner and Michael Stark became the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license and marry in Toronto, Ontario after the ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeals.
    • The unanimous Court found that the exclusion of same-sex couples was a violation of the Charter of Rights & Freedoms; the court ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry would take effect immediately.
    • Following this, seven provinces and one territory also legalized same-sex marriage B.C (2003) Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, Quebec, Yukon (2004), and New Brunswick (2005).
  • June 20, 2005 Bill C-38: Civil Marriage Act
    • Bill C-38 gave same-sex couples the legal right to marry. This made Canada the fourth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage. Official Legislative summary: This enactment extends the legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes to same-sex couples in order to reflect values of tolerance, respect and equality, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also makes consequential amendments to other Acts to ensure equal access for same-sex couples to the civil effects of marriage and divorce'
  • Feb 8, 2010 Pride House at the Olympics
    • British Columbia was the host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, and for the first time the Olympic games included the Pride House for LGBT athletes.
  • November 6, 2010 Angela James is Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
    • Angela James was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010, becoming the first openly gay player, and only the second black athlete to ever be inducted.
  • May 26, 2019 First Two-Spirit Archives in Canada Launches
    • The University of Winnipeg launches the first Two-Spirit archives in Canada.The collection — mostly donated by long-time Winnipeg two-spirit activist Albert McLeod is believed to be the most comprehensive collection of two-spirit materials in Canada, The archives will be used by researchers, historians and two-spirit people to tell the story of the movement's 40-year history.

For a list of Pride events occurring in Vancouver, check out Vancouver Pride. If you're interested in documentaries and series telling the stories of LGTBQ communities, books to read by LGBTQ Canadian creators, music, and podcasts, find it all on the CBC Pride Month feature.

From the team at GOeVisit, Happy Pride!




GOeBlogger is a health enthusiast and avid reader living and thriving in vibrant Vancouver. When she's not nerding out at her laptop, you can find her exploring the beautiful BC coastline with her dog.