Canada: Vancouver unveils permanent rainbow crossings to celebrate pride week

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The city of Vancouver has unveiled rainbow street crossings amid this week’s Pride Week celebrations, and unlike similar crossings in Sydney earlier this year which were later removed, the local council says they are permanent.

The crossings around Vancouver are unique because they contain the colour pink, unlike the traditional rainbow flag.

Local council spokespeople have also said the installations are permanent, unlike a rainbow crossing in Sydney installed for Mardi Gras, which was removed after the celebration.

The rainbow road crossing in Sydney’s LGBT district, which was painted for the city’s 35th Mardi Gras celebrations, was dug up in April, officials noting a safety hazard, despite a 15,000 strong petition to save it.

“Some skeptics have raised concern about traffic safety related to people not knowing what it is, what it means or stopping to take photos, however, so far this morning, all the rainbow crosswalk has done is get people to slow down and bring smiles to the faces of people in the West End neighbourhood,” a member of Vancouver Pride told SameSame.

The colour pink was originally included in the rainbow flag, however was removed for ease of production and distribution.

Since the removal of the Sydney crossing, which became an iconic symbol for the LGBT community, those protesting the decision took matters into their own hands, creating their own crossings across Australia, and around the world.

In May it was announced that a new, permanent crossing would be painted in Sydney, but that it would not be the same as its colourful predecessor, and instead would be just the outline of a rainbow.

The Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson yesterday spoke out to heavily criticise the recent introduction of Russian anti-gay laws ahead of the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi in 2014.

He said: “It is clear to me that the Russian parliament’s homophobic assault on the fundamental human rights of the LGBTQ community will prevent many of these individuals from safely and openly participating in Sochi.”