The week-long Victoria Pride Week ends with its parade and festival on Sunday, in downtown Victoria and at MacDonald Park in James Bay.
Watch as more than 120 groups march (or ride on floats) to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community and its allies.
This is the 26th year of the parade, which includes sponsors, local businesses and non-profit organizations.
“It is great to see Victorians embrace the Pride Parade year after year,” said Scott Daly, communications director for the Victoria Pride Society, which organizes the event.
“The atmosphere of the crowd is fantastic. Everybody is so happy and that empowers us.”
Daly expects 30,000 to 40,000 people to line the parade route, which begins at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Government Street and ends at MacDonald Park, at the corner of Oswego and Simcoe streets.
After the parade, join thousands in the park for a queer-themed festival that includes two stages of music and entertainment, a beer garden, food trucks, a vendors’ area and a children’s camp.
“There will be a huge variety of entertainment and vendors,” Daly said. “We are maxed out on space — there are way more entries than room to accommodate them all.”
All the activities are free. The parade runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The festival in the park starts at noon and runs until 6 p.m.
• One of the more endearing events in the week-long celebration is the Big Gay Dog Walk on Dallas Road on Friday.
The event is an opportunity for canines (and their humans) to mingle with friends and play games. There will be costume and trick contests, with prizes at 7 p.m.
No dog? No problem. Everyone is welcome, even if you don’t have a furry friend of your own.
The meet is free to join. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Dallas Road off-leash dog area at the intersection of Dallas and Cook Street.
For details on either event, go to victoriapridesociety.org or Facebook.
Get strawberries and ice cream for 50 cents
Bring your appetite, lawn chairs and blankets for the Saanich Strawberry Festival, Sunday at Beaver Lake Park.
Originally a celebration of Saanich’s agricultural roots, the festival has blossomed into a family-friendly community event with a wide variety of activities, information displays, face-painting, program demonstrations, arts and crafts stations and inflatable amusements.
A variety of acts will perform on two stages, including Price Tag, Tropic Mayhem and the Commodores Big Band on the upper level stage (near main beach), and the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, Chinese Culture Dance Victoria, Bollywood Beats and Sanpaguita Dancers on the lower level stage, beside the filter beds area near the picnic shelter.
Get your tickets early for the ever-popular strawberries and ice cream, which is still only 50 cents. Only 3,800 tickets will be sold, starting at 11 a.m., while quantities last. Tickets will likely sell out by 2:30 to 2:45 p.m., so don’t delay. The seasonal treat will be served between 1 and 3 p.m.
The event is free to attend. It runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Beaver Lake Park, 726 Beaver Lake Rd., Saanich. For more information, go to saanich.ca.
Concerts cater to a variety of tastes
Listen to live musical performances at three concerts — including one at Government House — this week.
B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin is hosting an evening of live music with the Chris Millington Band, tonight at the Government House Bandshell.
It’s the first of three in the annual Music on the Lawn summer concert series.
The Chris Millington Band will play pop and R&B classics. Bring your own blanket or chairs. Food will be available to buy from food trucks, or pack a picnic.
Admission is free. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the bandshell on the east lawn at Government House, 1401 Rockland Ave. Come early and take a self-guided tour of Government House between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Other Music on the Lawn concerts take place July 11 and 18. More information can be found here.
• Bring your lawn chairs or blankets to hear contemporary tunes at the annual Accordions by the Sea concert, Saturday at the Sidney Beacon Park Bandshell.
Presented by the Victoria Accordion Club Band, the concert features songs such as Rock Around The Clock, Diana and Snowbird. The band might even play a polka or two.
Bring your own lawn chairs, sunscreen, hats and water.
• This week’s session in the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Summer Academy Concerts features Bruce Vogt on piano, Saturday at the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall.
Vogt will play two Nocturnes from Chopin, selections from Brahms’ Op. 116, Brahms’ Intermezzo, Op. 119 No. 1 in B Minor, and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Schumann.
Admission is by donation. The concert runs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The hall is at the University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Rd. For details, go to vcm.bc.ca.
Summer’s in the air at gardening events
See and smell the summer blossoms at two events geared to gardeners on Saturday.
Give your nose the gift of sweet scents at the Victoria Lily Society’s Summer Scentsations judged flower show at the Cadboro Bay United Church.
The show is great for photographers, with flowering lilies, roses, ferns, cut flowers and foliage, herbs, fruits, vegetables and more.
Take home some of the scented plants from a sale that includes potted lilies, woodland plants, peonies and other assorted members’ choice plants.
Have tea with your favourite gardener at an elegant English-style tea/coffee with homemade scones and goodies for $5.
Admission is by donation. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Cadboro Bay United Church, 2625 Arbutus Rd. There is lots of free parking and the facility is wheelchair-accessible. For more information, go to victorialilysociety.ca.
• Take a self-guided tour of six unique gardens at the West Shore Garden Tour, Saturday at various locations.
The fundraising event is presented by the Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore.
Guests will receive a program with a map and information about each garden. You can tour the gardens at your own speed.
After the tour, everyone is invited to a Garden Gathering at Down to Earth Gardens Landscape Design and Nursery in Metchosin to mingle, listen to light entertainment, enjoy a bubbly reception, get served mead sangria and buy something to eat at food trucks.
You can also get your portrait taken, learn flower arranging or listen to a guitarist.
Tickets are $25. The gardens are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Garden Gathering reception runs from 3 to 6 p.m. at 1096 Derrien Plc., Metchosin.
For more information, go to sivs/wgt.
Listen to music and stories at Christ Church Cathedral
Learn about real-life angels and listen to music inside and on the grounds as Christ Church Cathedral opens its doors for the summer.
On Friday, join a special tour exploring the role of women in the church at Harp and Angels, about real-life angels, including a British heiress who financed churches and bride ships. See works by pioneering artists and view a modern interpretation of Mary in stained glass.
The tour, part of a new series at the cathedral, includes tea and a concert by Victoria harpist Gwyneth Evans.
The tour runs from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 and available at the cathedral office or through Eventbrite.
On Saturday, the cathedral will be filled with music, with two concerts planned.
Raven Baroque, a band that plays hits from the 1650s, will perform a free concert on the south lawn of the cathedral from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
In the afternoon, Brasstastic, a brass quintet, will give a concert as part of the cathedral’s summer recital series.
The musical group has made guest appearances with several community ensembles, including the Greater Victoria Concert Band and the Victoria Philharmonic Choir.
Admission is by donation. Brasstastic will play from 4 to 6 p.m.
All the programs take place at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Ave. For more information, go to christchurchcathedral.bc.ca.
Vic West Fest offers lots of food and fun
Discover the vibrancy and diversity of Victoria West — and meet your neighbours — at the Vic West Fest, Saturday at Banfield Park.
The event, hosted by the Victoria West Community Association, features live performances by Bousada, Not My Monkeys and other local musicians.
There will be children’s activities (including ones that involve water) while grown-ups can retire to the beer garden.
Food trucks will be on hand and local businesses will show off their wares.
The Vic West Food Security Collective will give orchard tours.
The event is free. It runs from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Banfield Park, 521 Craigflower Rd. For information, go to Facebook.