A petition on Change.org, asking the City of Vancouver to transform the Burrard Bridge into the "biggest pride rainbow ever", has generated an outpouring of support.
The petition, posted on June 12 by an individual identified only as "Rainbow Warrior", states:
Vancouver is an inclusive city, let's show the world. We're going to transform the Burrard Bridge into a symbol of acceptance and inclusion. This is your opportunity to show your love and support for your city, and the LGBTQ community.
We're going to build the biggest pride rainbow ever. It will showcase thousands of supportive Vancouverites signatures, including every signature we collect on this petition.
The City of VancouverTransform Burrard Bridge into the biggest pride rainbow ever.
Although the organizers were not named on the petition, they are actually from Vancouver-based creative agency Rethink Communications.
Rethink's content strategist Leah Gregg told the Georgia Straight by phone that the idea came up during an agency-wide brainstorm session focussed on reconsidering the city.
"The Burrard Bridge needed a little love after the whole yogafest, karmageddon schmazzle," she said, referring to Christy Clark's controversial Om the Bridge event. (The yoga event was cancelled due to public outcry about several issues, including the cost, concerns about distracting from National Aboriginal Day, and AltaGas being a sponsor.)
Gregg, who is in a same-sex relationship, said Rethink staff were also inspired by the Davie Street's permanent rainbow crosswalks and the bridge's proximity to the Davie Village.
"Geographically where the Burrard Street Bridge is, it kinda makes a great statement of it could be a great symbol of inclusivity for the LGBTQ community," she said.
At this stage, Gregg said they're still "looking to how feasible it is across the board", including whether it would be a temporary or permanent structure, what possible materials they might use, and what the budget would be.
Ideally, they'd like it to be unveiled during Vancouver Pride Week.
Vancouver Pride Society communications coordinator Cynthia Williams informed the Georgia Straight that the VPS is not involved in this project. Williams stated that they have been unsuccessful in contacting the organizers.
Mayor Gregor Robertson, after an appearance at the Urban Land Institute BC event at the Pinnacle Hotel, told media that city staff have been in touch with Rethink organizers.
“My staff have been in contact with the people presenting the petition and are looking at next steps, with City engineers looking at possibilities for the Burrard Bridge," he said. "It’s possible it could be a great next step in our history of bold leadership on the Pride front, with steps like our rainbow crosswalks and all the action that’s been taken in Vancouver to be a more inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly city.”
Gregg said they've been pleased with the support they've received thus far. However, she was also surprised at how much of a negative reaction it has also received.
"There's also a surprising amount of negativity and homophobic comments popping up as it's being shared on social [media] so I think a lot of this has been part of what would be really motivating to actually see it come to fruition and see this pipe dream become a reality…[as] it still seems as though it is an important topic to push forward," she said.
Gregg added that this rainbow, which could become one of the biggest of its kind in the world, could become a symbol for both citizens and visitors alike.
"This could really become an icon for the whole city or anybody who visits to be proud of."