Permanent Rainbow Crosswalk coming to Vancouver's West End

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Rainbow crosswalk - Utrecht

It’s the closest we’ll get to having a yellow brick road. The City of Vancouver will be painting a permanent rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver’s West End in time for the city’s annual pride festivities and parade, which are scheduled to begin at the end of this month.

The crosswalks at the intersection of Davie and Bute Streets will permanently feature the rainbow stripes, a universal symbol of LGBT pride. This comes after last summer’s temporary installation when the City painted a rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood. As a trial installation, it was quickly removed after pride festivities concluded.

This permanent installation is intended to further cement the LGBT community’s place in the Davie Village and to symbolize Vancouver as a safe and inclusive city that celebrates the LGBT community. It is a great addition to the city and will more than likely become a well photographed landmark.

While it is certainly a novelty for Vancouver, it is not a world first. Although such installations are rare and are usually temporary, permanent versions already exist elsewhere including in West Hollywood and, most recently, Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Sydney, Australia also painted a permanent rainbow crosswalk in February 2013 at its gay district. However, it was promptly removed in April 2013 by New Wales state officials who claimed that the multi-coloured crosswalk was a dangerous hazard. State officials claimed that drivers were distracted by the crossing, and pedestrians were also too busy taking photos of the crosswalk to the point that they’d disregard incoming traffic.

The removal was met with great outcry by both the local municipal government (which installed the crosswalk in the first place) and the general public, to the point that Sydney citizens began to draw and colour in their own guerilla rainbow crosswalks across the city in protest. The Australians spent $68,000 to paint their crosswalk, then another $31,000 to remove it two months affterwards.

Unlike Sydney’s short-lived installation, Vancouver’s rainbow crosswalk will likely be here to stay for a long time to come. It’s a great symbol for the city we live in, we can hardly wait for it.

Vancouver’s Pride Week festivities kick off on July 29 and will conclude with the annual Pride Parade and Festival on August 4.

What are your thoughts on the permanent installation of a rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver’s West End? Let us know by commenting below.

The rainbow crosswalk at Sydney, Australia.
Rainbow crosswalk - Sydney

Image: Sydney Media

Featured image by Same Same.

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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