Vancouver's Pride Week is almost upon us and here's a delicious and nutritious way to get into gear for it.

This year's annual Pride Picnic in the Park, which takes place at Brockton Oval on Saturday (July 26) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., boasts two of Canada's top culinary competitors on board: Shelley Robinson and Rockin' Ronnie (who will be cooking from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Shelley Robinson is certainly a chef to be reckoned with. She was not only a Top Chef Canada contestant, but won the Food Network's Chopped CanadaTV show competition.

Some things just never change.

Hogtown mayor Rob Ford isn't homophobic—according to him. And of course, his brother Doug, who says that Rob has "gay friends" (which is the first defense anyone uses when they're accused of discrimination).  

Nonetheless, Ford continues to display homophobic behaviour.

As Toronto City Hall recognized the success of WorldPride Toronto with a standing ovation, Ford—unsurprisingly but still annoyingly—remained seated.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly expressed his disappointment about Ford's behaviour.

While Surrey may have refused to fly a Pride flag at its city hall during its Pride celebrations, the West End is becoming even more rainbow friendly, believe it or not.

Last year, rainbow crosswalks were painted at the Davie and Bute intersection, mere steps away from Qmunity, B.C.'s queer resource centre. There are also a collection of picnic tables, each painted in a colour of the rainbow flag, in a cordoned off street area next to the intersection.

As Pride has kicked off across North America, social media companies have gotten their rainbow game on too.

Google is back with a few Easter eggs.

As in previous years, if you run a search for the terms "gay", "lesbian", "Pride", "marriage equality", or several other queer-related terms, you'll find a fancy schmancy rainbow banner headlining your search results.

But if you open up a spreadsheet in Google Docs and type out the letters PRIDE (with one letter per column from A1 to E1), the spreadsheet will transform into a rainbow of fruit flavours! Whee!

Meanwhile, if you hashtag "pride" on Twitter, you'll find a nifty little rainbow flag showing up after you tweet it.

The Vancouver Pride summer calendar kicks into gear this weekend, and to get the party started, first up is East Side Pride.

This Saturday (June 28), East Vancouver celebrates its queer communities at Grandview Park (Charles Street and Commercial Drive) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It's also a tribute to the historical Stonewall riots, which took place on the same day in 1969.

There'll be lots of stalls presented by artisans, community groups, and non-profit organizations; various activities to participate in; and music by local performers.

If you're concerned about queerphobia on social media, there's an art installation and campaign that is encouraging LGBT people and allies to help counter derogatory sentiments.

Toronto PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) has helped to create an interactive rainbow flag in Toronto that is sensitive to the positive and negative messages on Twitter.

The flag is flying on the roof of the Churchmouse (at Church and Mainland streets in Toronto) for the duration of WorldPride 2014.

The flag is hooked up to a Raspberry Pi single-board computer, Arduino single-board microcontroller, and a stepper motor.

The technology aggregates the positive and negative tweets and either raises or lowers the flag in real time accordingly.

Yes, there's one big queer party going on in Toronto right now. But that's not to say it's all just fun and games.

WorldPride is hosted by different cities around the world every five years. (Previous host cities of WorldPride include Rome and Jerusalem.) WorldPride Toronto kicked off in Canada's biggest city on June 20 with a rainbow flag–raising ceremony at Toronto City Hall. In attendance was Ontario's first openly gay premier, Kathleen Wynne.

Oilers captain Andrew Ference became the first professional athlete to march in 34th Edmonton's Pride parade, which was held on June 7.

The defenceman (who is one year older than the parade), credited his time in Boston for helping him to become more accepting of LGBT people. There he met same-sex parents, who helped him see the personal lives of LGBT people. He also became friends there with Patrick Burke, who launched the You Can Play antihomophobia in sport campaign.

He called the decision to march in the parade "kind of a no-brainer".

The first Pride parade in Cyprus has drawn thousands of supporters.

The president of ACCEPT-LGBT, Costas Gavrielides, told the Associated Press that he only expected a few hundred people to the event, which was held in the capital city of Nicosia.

He took the turnout as proof that the Cypriots are far more liberal than the government when it comes to equal rights for the LGBT community.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Orthodox Church released a statement claiming that homosexuality is "an illness and not a natural way of life or choice".

But that wasn't the prevailing view over Twitter, which buzzed with praise for the bravery of the marchers under the hashtag #CyprusPride.


The Vancouver Pride Society has announced its grand marshals for the 2014 Pride parade.

Each year, Vancouver Pride selects local, national, or international outstanding LGBT individuals to recognize and celebrate for their contributions to increasing awareness of queer issues and for creating safe spaces.

This year, those individuals are filmmaker Gwen Haworth, activist Dean Nelson, and the late ted northe, who are all locals.