Photos: New Westminster Pride celebration livens up the downtown

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      Early this afternoon, I was in New Westminster in advance of the Pride celebration along Columbia Street.

      One of the first groups I encountered was a trio from the Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

      These queer nuns offer community service to the homeless and people with HIV.

      It's incorporated in B.C. as the Abbey of the Long Cedar Canoe Society and is a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency.

      I also bumped into New Westminster NDP MLA Judy Darcy, who was at the Hospital Employees' Union booth.

      New West NDP MLA Judy Darcy (left) reconnected with HEU friends.
      Charlie Smith

      Darcy, the NDP health critic, worked for the HEU before jumping into provincial politics before the last election.

      The Columbia Theatre, which is owned by Barry Buckland and Michael Hwang, put up a large rainbow flag for New West Pride.

      The historic Columbia Theatre was gussied up for Pride.
      Charlie Smith

      Another business along the strip that always supports Pride is the Heritage Grill. It's a restaurant and a live-music venue that brings a Commercial Drive feel to this part of New Westminster.

      Heritage Grill staff, including owner Paul Minhas (left), promote Pride.
      Charlie Smith

      I arrived too early to see any politicians. But some students were on hand to show their Pride.

      Douglas College was just blocks away from the party.
      Charlie Smith