Skip to main content

The Games Begin

Black and white studio photograph of a male hockey player wearing a Montreal Canadiens white jersey and smiling flirtatiously while posing as if 'riding' his stick.

Photograph by Daniel Collins. It was included in his solo exhibition of LBGTQ2S+ athletes at Exposure Gallery coinciding with Celebration ’90.


The Celebration ’90 Sport Committee oversaw the selection, planning, rules and regulations of the sporting events at Gay Games III. Co-chairs for each sport volunteered for over two years and were critical to the Games’ success.

Colour cover of the Celebration '90 Gay Games III & Cultural Festival Official Program. 8 1/2 inch x 11 inch 77-page stapled publication.

Official Program of Celebration ’90 Gay Games III & Cultural Festival

Of the 27 sports, 11 were new to the Gay Games. Selected for Gay Games III were badminton, basketball, bowling, billiards, croquet, cycling, darts, diving, equestrian, golf, ice hockey, marathon, martial arts, physique, physically-challenged 10k, power lifting, race walking, squash, raquetball, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, touch football, track and field, triathlon, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.The most popular sport at Gay Games III was volleyball. 800 athletes from 10 countries on 5 continents played on more than 120 teams.


Black and white photo of women Triathlon athletes in swim suits, googles, and bathing caps, crowded together at the start line on the beach at English Bay preparing for the 1.5K swim portion of the event.

Athletes prepare for the Triathlon 1.5 km Swim portion of the event. The swim from English Bay was followed by a 30 km cycle and 11 km run through Stanley Park. August 6, 1990.


43% of registered athletes were women, a gender balance that hadn’t been met by any other international sporting event. 

A woman softball player from the Nova Scotia team.

A member of the Nova Scotia women’s softball team watches the game.

At least 1460 Canadians registered as athletes for Gay Games III. They represented communities from British Columbia (726 registrants), Manitoba (21), New Brunswick (4), Nova Scotia (16), Northwest Territories (14), Ontario (341), Quebec (82), Saskatchewan (26), and the Yukon (3). [1]

Gay Games III put Olympic sports next to ones popular as social activities within the community such as darts, bowling, and billiards. The decision was applauded for supporting inclusion and making the Games more accessible.  

Man lines up a shot at Billiards competition.

The Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown was the venue for the billiards competition. Over 200 participants were registered, over double the number of entrants at Gay Games II.

Competitions were held at over 60 venues throughout Greater Vancouver including high schools, community centres, golf courses, public parks, ice rinks and equestrian centres.

Two women pass the baton in women's relay race at Swanguard Stadium, Burnaby.

Track and field events were held at Swangard Stadium in Central Park, Burnaby between August 6 to 10. Over 720 participants from seven countries registered to compete in 17 events including the 4 x 100m relay.


[1] Richard Dopson fonds. City of Vancouver Archives.