Toronto, the largest city in Canada, rivals cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco as a major destination for international LGBTQ+ travelers, and its annual Pride celebrations are second to none. Over five million residents call Toronto home, including the largest LGBTQ+ population in Canada.
Church-Wellesley Village, the original gay village, is an urban destination with the largest percentage of LGBTQ+-owned and welcoming businesses in Canada. Home to renowned LGBTQ+ bars and clubs, bookstores, saunas, cafes, restaurants, and community organizations, Church-Wellesley is home base for many, and often the first stop for LGBTQ visitors setting out to explore the city. It is also home base for Toronto’s extensive Pride celebrations, now known as Pride Month, taking place June 1 – 30, 2020, including the Pride Festival, June 26-28, 2020.
The West Queen West Art & Design District, known locally as the Queer West Village, is Toronto’s second neighbourhood of interest to the LGBTQ+ community. Home to broadcasters, gay-welcoming bars, restaurants, shops, cafes, design houses and galleries galore, Queer West Village is welcoming to everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The Gay West Community Network Inc., also known as “Queer West”, organizes the Queer West Film Festival, Toronto Queer Arts and Culture Festival (Queer West Fest. They also produce OUTexpressions, an online publication with listings of some of the hottest events and places in town.
Queer East Toronto, which includes Leslieville, The Beaches and Greektown, are also becoming popular areas for LGBTQ+ Torontonians. Somewhat more laid-back than the Church Wellesley Village, these LGBTQ+ welcoming neighbourhoods offer a wide range of restaurants, pubs, shopping and nightlife.
Canada’s largest LGBTQ+ Centre, The 519, is located at 519 Church Street in the Church-Wellesley Village. This registered charity is an agency of the City of Toronto and works in partnership with community businesses and sponsors, to provide a broad range services, programs and meeting spaces for the LGBTQ+ community. It was also the site for the Royal Canadian Mint’s official launch of the Equality Dollar coin to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
The ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives, launched their new name and logo last year, along with a new online database that will allow the public to search their diverse collection of records. They also offer tours of their Jared Sessions House where they provide their public programs, as well as walking tours of Toronto’s LGBTQ2+ historical neighbourhoods, and presentations about their collections.