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The Best Places to Celebrate LGBTQ2+ Pride All Year Round

by Matthew Stepanic

Whether you’re gay, bi, trans, straight, or post-labels, Edmonton has an exciting variety of experiences and welcoming communities to celebrate all identities along the LGBTQ2+ spectrum. And with the Edmonton Pride Festival about to begin, fun and diverse queer events and activities really begin to ramp up in the city! Edmonton has many venues that cater to the LGBTQ2+ community by planning special events and making their spaces as inclusive as possible. Here’s some of the must-catch and visit spots in Edmonton for the month of June and beyond.

The Big Gay Annual Party

Edmonton Pride Festival
June 9 – 18, 2018
Edmonton’s largest LGBTQ2+ celebration of diversity and unity has been weaving the party across the city since 1980! Energetic events take place across the city for all queer identities, with activities and events for any interest, including drag shows, dance parties, fitness classes, BBQs, art performances, and more. The kick-off event is the colourful parade on June 9 that cuts through Old Strathcona on Whyte Avenue and welcomes LGBTQ2+ and inclusive organizations and businesses to show off their pride. Wear your brightest colours and arrive before 11 am to reserve a good spot along the parade line. For a full schedule of events, visit the festival’s website.

Fabulous Drag Shows & Queer Mix & Mingles

Hail Mary & Have Mercy
8232 Gateway Boulevard
Whyte Avenue's ultimate southern bar, Have Mercy, welcomes some of the wildest drag queens for a night of debauchery that will have you begging for mercy as you watch the marvelous talent flaunt their fashions!

Queen's Brunch at Match Eatery and Public House
10224-104 Avenue
One of the most fabulous monthly events in Edmonton, Match Eatery & Public House serves up a delicious brunch with a dragged-up twist! Enjoy the wit and style of some of Edmonton’s top queens, while you sip on mimosas and devour your brunch fixings.

Fruit Loop
June 16, 2018
More than just a great night out every month, the Fruit Loop society promotes groups and events within the LGBTQ2+ community through its social media network. Every month, they partner with different venues and entertainers to create a fun and memorable night out. Come out to socialize with a drink and then hang around to dance the night away with special guests. This month the event features DJ Queerbait, Sister Mary Clarence, House of Hus Burlesque, and more!

Queer-Friendly Hang Outs

Evolution Wonderlounge
10220-103 Street
Evolution is a welcoming and entertaining home to the queer community's events in the city for the last five years. Catch amazing entertainment here from international and local acts including drag queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, comedy acts, dance performances, and more! No matter what's going on, dancing the night away with your besties is always a good time within these walls.

remedy cafe edmonton

Remedy Café
Various locations
The city-famous homemade chai lattes are must-try here, and its late hours and convenient locations make it an ideal location for a date or meeting. This spot is hip among many in the queer community.

The Tea Girl
12411 Stony Plain Road
With over 150 blends, this friendly community teahouse is the perfect place to relax with a cup of tea. Order a steaming pot of a new blend and choose from a pretty selection of cups and plates to sip from. Owner Sarah has a tea certification and can help you explore any new flavours that you may want to experiment with.

Black Dog Freehouse
10425 Whyte Avenue
Home to one of the best rooftop patios in the city, the Black Dog frequently hosts Queer Dance Parties that are inclusive to all. On any other night, it’s still a cool spot to meet interesting people and dance to local DJs or show off your skills during the hip-hop open mic.

Empress Ale House
9912 Whyte Avenue
The near-monthly Beers 4 Queers night at the Empress are a chill evening to listen to some cool local music and sip a local brew. These friendly events offer a more casual evening to sit back, rock out and meet some new friends.

Explore Our History

Edmonton Queer History App
Take a virtual tour around Edmonton through the EQH App. Using historical pictures and videos interviews you'll learn about the various places and events that shaped the course of LGBTQ rights in Canada and around the world.

Fringing is For Everyone

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival
August 16-26, 2018
From drag shows on rooftops to puppetry in armories, Edmonton's annual International Fringe Theatre Festival is a captivating 10-day festival of performance, art and theatre that takes over Old Strathcona. Fringe is an inclusive hub that's all about celebrating every colour of the creative rainbow and also happens to be the second largest festival of it's kind in the whole wide world. Plus, who can resist great outdoor beer gardens, multiple blocks of outdoor vendors and off-the-wall street performers?