One of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ most anticipated theme nights of the year is happening this weekend at BC Place, and it also happens to be one of the most colourful.
The Whitecaps’ ninth annual Pride Match takes place on July 23 during their MLS game against the Chicago Fire. And the team has commissioned acclaimed local queer artist Christina Hryc, aka Boots, to create a new Pride logo for the celebration.
According to Hryc, the design incorporates a number of elements that have always been important to her.
“I wanted to showcase the monarch butterfly because of its ties with mental illness awareness symbolism,” said Hryc to Daily Hive. “Something as delicate as a monarch butterfly overcomes so many obstacles and beats the odds each year during migration. You can’t really have something Pride-inspired and not include a rainbow’s spectrum of colours.
“My bold black line work that ties the design together is also a nod to my own artistic style and a reminder to always stay true to who you are and what you believe in.”
Pride is important to Hryc as it is a time of reflection on the history of the 2SLGBTQAI+ community as well as self-affirmation, equality, and visibility.
“It’s also a time to take a stance against all of the violence, hatred, and discrimination that people of the entire spectrum encounter and use it to create unity and a safe place for all to inhabit,” added Hryc. “I celebrate Pride in my own life being the truest, loudest, unapologetic version of myself every chance I get.”
Fans at the Pride Match this weekend will enjoy a variety of activities to get a head start on their Pride Week celebrations. The team is giving the first 2,000 fans to enter the gates at BC Place a Whitecaps FC Pride fanny pack, which features the Progress Pride flag.
The ‘Caps pre-match street party, The Warmup, is back at Terry Fox Plaza. Head down early to enjoy live music, food and drink specials, giveaways, face painting, and more. And when you’re inside the stadium, head to Boom Kitchen in sections 210 and 230 to get yourself some delicious rainbow grilled cheese.
Iconic drag queen The Unstoppable Connie Smudge will sing the national anthem as well as host the halftime dance party. The best performers in the stands will even receive prizes.
Whitecaps are welcoming Sher Vancouver, Rainbow Refugee, and other groups who provide support and resources to the LGBTQ+ community to the game. The team will also have Pride-coloured nets, corner flags, and player tunnels during the walkout at BC Place.
Players will also be sporting Pride warm-up tops as well as a Pride-coloured captain’s armband.
“We celebrated our first Pride Match in 2013 and it was the first queer-themed major sporting event in Canada and one of the first Pride matches in the world,” explained Erin Mathany, Vancouver Whitecaps senior vice president of marketing. “It is very important for our club to be inclusive and to celebrate diversity in our wonderful community.
“We want the Pride community to feel celebrated, seen, and a part of our team. We hope fans will gain a heightened awareness of the remarkable contributions that LGBTQ+ folks have made in our community and the integral role they play in supporting our club.”
Mathany shared that members of the Whitecaps team saw Hryc’s work on murals and tattoos across Vancouver and were looking for the right opportunity to collaborate with the multi-disciplinary artist.
“Boots’ work is a visual celebration of the diverse culture of our city, embodying flamboyance, outrageousness, and celebration, with a gentle nod to our history,” said Mathany. “Through her work, she reminds us to stay true to who we are and what we believe in. She uses fluid line drawings with bold, bright colours, often layered with floral and geometric patterns that seek to emulate layers of graffiti with references to personal nostalgia, queer culture, and pop iconography.”
Hryc has mutual admiration for the Whitecaps and is excited to attend the Pride Match on July 23, her first live sporting event since before the pandemic.
“I hope that players and fans feel a sense of inclusivity and cheerfulness when they see my logo,” said Hryc, who also created a giant artwork behind Numbers Cabaret on Davie Street as part of the 2021 Vancouver Mural Fest X Pride Art Walk. “I enjoy being able to take my creativity everywhere I go. I love being able to add colour and brightness to all the communities I visit. I feel so incredibly grateful that this is my career.”
When: July 23, 2022
Time: Kick-off at 7 pm
Where: BC Place – 777 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
Cost: Various, purchase online
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