Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario


 


Tourism Toronto | Gay Toronto - Queer West
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Queer West Community Network


 


toronto queer arts festival promotional picture  by mpare

Toronto Queer Arts Festival - Friday August 8 to 17, 2014


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Tourist Guide to Queer West Toronto neighbourhoods

OUTEXPRESSION newspaper is a not for profit publication of Queer West Arts Centre (Masthead) Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. We have been bringing event listings to readers since 1995. We are dedicated to promoting the city of Toronto and it's performing arts community to the world.. Each year we help to inform the entertainment decision-making process of more than 1.7 million visitors from within Canada and abroad.. Queer West is consistently on Page One in Google for most search returns. Publisher/Listings: queerwestinfo@gmail.com Twitter outexpressions@twitter.com Thank you for your interest in Outexpression's

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Official Toronto Transit Maps

You want to Dance with Somebody? Eight out of ten places listed in BlogTO recent survey"Top 10 dance parties and bars in Toronto" are located in the queer west end of city

Tour Toronto gay villages with a bicycle rental:

For the uninitiated, Bike Share Toronto is simple to use: it takes a small credit card payment to unlock a bike, New prices for 2014 ...Prices for 24-hour passes will go from $5 to $7; 72-hour passes will go up from $12 to $15. Prices for monthly memberships will go down from $41 to $18, and annual memberships will be reduced from $97 to $90. Corporate memberships will still be available.The Service is accessible to the holders of Visa, MasterCard, and AMEX credit cards. Get a cycling App.

It's fun to visit gay Toronto?

Toronto's gay ghetto moved around in the early 1970s, it was on Spadina Avenue; later Queen St., east of Spadina, Parliament Street in the early '80s; and Church & Wellesley by 1992." In fact there is no gay village in Toronto. "There remained some confusion in 1992 about what to call the gay neighbourhood east of Yonge Street: Church & Wellesley (accurate if not very snappy); The Village (favoured by those business types); or simply The Ghetto." wrote Rick BéboutT The continuing concept that Toronto is one big gay village is dead.

Toronto is on the list of growing international cities that claim to having more than one “gay village”. As most visitors to the city believe, Church and Wellesley is the hub of gay activity when planning a vacation or stop over. However, the west end of the city has gradually carved out a place on the map, known locally as the “Queer West Village,” or Queer West Toronto. There has been a significant queer presence in this area for several years, but it only recently it started gaining recognition as a viable gay alternative to the Church Street Village.

Queer West is more of an attitude than an identity—new and radical with a thriving underground gay scene. “I like the diversity here,” explains local Tom Riley, who has lived in the area for 10 years. “This is a fairly tolerant neighbourhood in terms of ethnicities. As for its attitude toward the gay community…I've had no adverse reactions.”

There are no purely gay bars in this part of town; instead there are mixed events and venues that provide a safe and welcoming place to party and be yourself. As well, there are several funky dining establishments and accommodation options so you can actually plan a full itinerary in Queer West Toronto.

There are other queer neighbourhoods in Toronto besides Queer West. Church & Wellesley: The heart of the city's main gay village in downtown Toronto. (Subway: Wellesley or College) The Danforth also known as Greektown: A trendy area with lots of gay and lesbian residents as well as gay-owned businesses. (Subway: Broadview, Chester or Pape) College Street: Little Italy around Clinton has a decided gay/artsy flair. (Streetcar: College) and Leslieville: Gay boys and girls in search of affordable homes and starving artists being, well, starving artists are transforming this gritty neighbourhood with great restaurants and quirky shops. (Streetcar: Queen east)

Mon, Jan 27, 2014 Global News: A number of businesses have closed or relocated in advance of World Pride at the end of June 2014. Church Street gay village Owners say rents are becoming too high. The video report highlights DuWest Brockton Village, Queer West end of the city as a more welcome place, to live work and play.

A recent geography study by Brock University (Queering neighbourhoods: Politics and practice in Toronto) about Queer West Toronto....This paper argues that for some queer women/gender queers individuals, the (Church St.) Village is not viewed as a desirable location for social or political organising given perceptions the area is dominated by largely white, middle class, gay men http://goo.gl/q8BqvV

"This is completely depressing to walk up on Church St., can't help but noticed many stores and restaurants are closed down. Oh boy, this is not a good picture for World Pride in Toronto. The (Sic: Toronto Gay) village used to be vibrant and full of actions on a daily basis and especially on the weekend. The existing businesses provide services to the people who live in the vicinity and the out-of-towners who come and visit the district. Now, there's hardly any place to check out for because they're closed down." Dj Quinces said on Facebook.

While the Queer West End of Toronto is not a designated tourist area like the traditional gay district around the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood.. Safe yes, if you keep in areas mentioned in this article. There hasn't been gay bashing, in over 26 years, since school teacher and librarian Kenneth Zeller, was kicked to death in Parkdale's High Park by five youths in 1985. Which was made into a play called Steel Kiss. While Toronto Parkdale is a working class gritty part of the city (Some jokingly refer to it as Crackdale) Here you will find all races, genders and sexualities, old, young, rich and poor living side by side.

Like a fabulous herd of reindeer gays and lesbians are moving out to live, work and play in the new queer districts in the city.The best known of these districts is the newly claimed 'queer arts' neighbourhoods emerging on Queen Street West (Trinity Bellwoods/Parkdale) and to some extent on Dundas St. W (Brockton Village) in west central part of old Toronto.

Who coined Queer West Village?

In 2001 Michel F. Paré (one of the founders of queerwest.org) made up the name Queer West Village more of a joke and then begin pounding away what a great, place it was to live, work and play here. At first people said it was a figment of his imagination, no one would go there. (Yes it was,but he could see something very unique happening in the west end),Now 14 years later Toronto Tourism has devoted an entire page to how great it is to come here, he expects wp2014 will also put a stamp on it. It doesn't matter to him if he gets any recognition...QWV will be here for long time. http://www.seetorontonow.com/toronto-diversity/queer-west/ Toronto tourism is also bring attention to visitors that "Every summer in August, Queer West celebrates its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered artistic community with the Queer Arts Festival– a week-long event that includes a film festival, spoken word events, concerts, art gallery tours by bicycle, and more. Take in art that challenges and explores the concept of sexuality."

The City of Toronto in 2009 bolted new signs on all lamposts, officially designating it the "Art and Design District, " Due to West Queen West's popularity, condo developers and higher commercial rents are forcing many smaller gallery owners and clubs to move north a couple of blocks to Dundas W (between Ossignton and Lansdowne Avenue) . The height limit is only three stories.(Reference source for height limit: Dundas West BIA)

More commercial and huge tracts of condo gentrification is happening between 1001 Ossignton and 1214 Dufferin on West Queen Street West (Beaconsfield Village). The bigger galleries like MOCCA are staying put for now. That part of the famous artists neighbourhood will disappear in ten years for less for the hipsters, as the epicentre of gay culture moves West to (Parkdale) and North to (old Brockton Village also know as, Little Portugal) New enclaves are starting West in the Junction. Margaret On Dundas (2952 Dundas St. W.) (Slowly gaining fame as queer hot spot). That's the thing about gay Toronto, it's ever changing.

Apartment Hunting, In Queer West Toronto rents (Shared accommodations) are cheaper (Rooms $450+) Bachelors ($575 - $1145) one bedroom Apartments ( $645 - $2200) for the 20 / 30 somethings living, work and playing in the west village, lots of parks for cruising, to swap spit and bug spray. A lot of younger people are now using VIEWIT looking for new digs (Pictures, locations, amenities and price ranges) http://www.viewit.ca/ T4 for west village neighbourhood

So do yourself a favor: shuck those glossy, brochure vision of soul-sucking Ma and Pa merriment, and instead embrace the edgy, artsy, booming Queer West Toronto, that has room for everyone: hot, indie music scenes, celebrity-chic shopping, all-night dance parties and an über-cool mixed crowd.

You have may noticed I didn't mention LIBERTY VILLAGE in Toronto Parkdale, an upscale trendy neighbourhood of the West Toronto, where a lot of gentrification is taking place. Simply because there is no queer activity taking place there. BLOOR WEST VILLAGE. Very posh and upscale. No gay or queer bars (mixed crowd). There's never been any LGBT queer events in these neighbourhoods, to the best of my knowledge. That's not to say, there are not gay and lesbian residents, there's just no gay bars or queer activity happening in Liberty and Bloor West neighbourhoods.

Brock University Geography Professor, Catherine Jean Nash, joined the newly forming Queer West Arts Centre Board of Directors in 2008, and in 2009 resigned to launch a research study west end queer neighbouthoods (Queering neighbourhoods: Politics and practice in Torontohttp://www.acme-journal.org/vol12/Nash2013.pdf)

Trinity Bellwoods

The Queer West Toronto has been home to an underground queer scene since the 1970's. Long before Vazaleen was started by late artist Will Munro as queer monthly event in Kensignton Market; The Body Politic Collective a pioneering gay lib rag born in 1971, came to live not in a gay ghetto on Church St. but an artists' enclave on Queen Street West.www.rbebout.com/divas/dcarole.htm (In 1975, the Body Politic created its own owner, the Pink Triangle Press, forerunner of Xtra Gay and Lesbian Newspaper.) Dark raves, electro-sexual, queercore, goths, punks, hard rock, metal, and fetish nights are held Velvet Underground 510 Queen St. W., Neu+ral 349A College St., Bovine Sex Club 542 Queen St.W., Savage Garden is Toronto’s oldest goth nightclub, 550 Queen St. W. and the Dance Cave 529 Bloor St. W. El Convento Rico 750 College Street was created 21 years ago as a humble, very underground club catering to gays, lesbians and trans people. Once as popular as La Cage aux Folles but now only appeals to straight couples from the 905 area outside TorontoThere's more than 40 galleries with the likes of Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects (1086 Queen West), MOCCA Gallery (952 Queen West) and Gallery TPW (56 Ossington)

(Public transit: subway to Osgoode station. The shopping strip is about 5 km (3 miles) long but the 501 Queen streetcar runs the whole length. A TTC day pass is handy for hopping on and off streetcars.)

There are no purely gay bars in this part of town; instead there are however a mixed crowd and venues (LGBT crowd and gay friendly straights together, that provides a safe and welcoming place to party and be yourself. As well, there are several funky dining establishments and accommodation options so you can actually plan a full itinerary in Queer West Village.

Queer West Toronto is more of an attitude than an identity—new and radical with a thriving underground gay scene. “I like the diversity here,” explains local Tom Riley, who has lived in the area for 10 years. “This is a fairly tolerant in terms of ethnicity's. As for its attitude toward the gay community…I've had no adverse reactions.” Riley said.

"I feel far more welcome and visible on the Queer West scene. I find that Queer West holds an attitude that’s quite the opposite to Church St’s — it encourages queers to come as they are, without fear of having to fit in with the crowd. Probably as a result the west-end scene is a lot more racially mixed and there’s more room to express yourself both as ethnic and lesbian." said Parul Pandya, a Toronto Writer raised within a Hindu tradition.

The post mos (post modern queers) are wonderfully creative. They're just not the driving force behind the popularity of the West Village - See - (History of Gay Toronto and the Birth of the Queer West Village).

The West Queen West strip (sometimes called “Queen West Queer”) suddenly exploded with the arrival the ever-so-funky venue/hotel The Drake (1150 Queen W). The boutique concept rooms have been featured in magazines, on television and most recently on international flights.

The hip and happening migrate here nightly to be seen or to catch the hottest acts in the city. A cluster of other equally trendy venues soon opened in the vicinity, including The Beaconsfield (1154 Queen W),and the gay-owned Beaver Cafe (1192 Queen W) originally owned Megan Whiten, who sold it to the late Will Munro and his friend Lynn MacNeil (Lee's Palace manager) in 2006, they turned it into a nightclub and restaurant by day.

Gay neighbours boost real estate property values. An academic study of how Ohio neighborhoods voted on a 2004 Gay Marriage Amendment has linked the result to house prices. Gentrification by gay people has previously been studied as a boon to property values. This study of home values in and around Columbus, Ohio concluded that an increase in the number of same-sex couples by one in 1,000 households is associated with a 1.1 percent price premium in enclaves that backed gay marriage The same influx in areas that didn’t support same-sex marriage was linked to a 1 percent discount. It compared average home prices in neighborhoods after controlling for a number factors, including distance to the central business district, income, graduate degrees, school quality, crime rate and house size.

Queer Parkdale

The bubble burst for queer Parkdale in 2010, when the Brockton Triangle neighbourhood began to become popular with the opening of The Henhouse November 28, 2008 and the Naco Gallery open in April 2009. Julian Calleros’s offbeat west-side cantina closed three years later in December 2011, after a dispute with the landlord. Things on Dundas West have changed after 2012, and all indications are that they’re going to keep changing. Read: Dundas West takes off

picture brockton village toronto

View from Dundas W at Lansdowne. Looking East towards downtown Toronto.

Brockton Village: The fastest growing queer neighbourhood in Toronto

In the photograph to the right stands St Helen's (Portuguese Roman Catholic Church) which sits as beacon on Dundas W, as one nears the bridge over the CN railway tracks further west. East down the street is a rightwing Pentecostal Church. It's doubtful either of the churches, know they are sharing the neighbourhood with the gay community and likely don't care. The gay community certainly spends big bucks at their annual yard sales.

Toronto gay community is constantly moving. Richard Florida at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management has consistently shown that higher concentrations of gay people are linked with economic prosperity, innovation and creativity within a region.. A new renaissance has started in old Brockton Village a romantic peaceful neighbourhood, also know as Little Portugal (Along Dundas W between Lansdowne Ave and Gladstone Avenue) as it becomes a vibrant alternative community with recently developed mix of galleries, cafés, restaurants and boutiques to serve an increasingly visible queer clientele. A cadre of Yuppies are buying up the row houses from 1887, in the neighbourhood, while prices are still cheap. Old -school Portuguese families, Chinese or South Asian immigrants, or some of an ever-growing proportion of artists and young professionals looking for value or the ‘next’ hip ‘hood. Also see West Queen West’s comment about the slow emergence of a “Queer West Village.” (Demographics)

Getting around the village; (Public transit: westbound 505 Dundas streetcar from St. Patrick or Dundas station, 63 Ossington bus south from Ossington subway, or 29 Dufferin bus south from Dufferin subway)

Brockton was a genuine village before it was annexed by Toronto in 1884. At the intersection of Dundas West and Brock Avenue, the former Brockton Town Hall still stands (as a Scotiabank branch, naturally 1616 Dundas ast. W. ). Way off in the distance, the skyscrapers of downtown Toronto are visable. A 15 minute bicycle ride to Yonge and Dundas on a good day.

picture mural brockton gay village toronto

View of one of many murals, by local Ecuador born artist José Ortega

Queer West Arts & Culture Centre live / work offices are located in Brockton Village (Toronto Ward 18) at the crossroads of Dufferin & Dundas W. As well as the home to the gay and lesbian newspaper, OUTeXpressions.

The residents show their pride by hosting, the Chalk the Block Festival in May, the Toronto Queer Arts Festival every August and have started a new annual event, the Duwest Art Crawl in October.

Steve Ireson a Church & Wellesley dude, decided Queer West Toronto was a better location, than the Church Street Gay Village for his new restaurant. The Hogtown Cure Deli & Cafe opened December 21, 2012 at the northwest corner of Dufferin & Dundas St. West. They offer great products from meats and cheeses, to local produce, pantry basics, pastries, breads, prepared foods, treats and sweets, soups and made to order sandwiches, including some of the best grilled cheese around. https://www.facebook.com/TheHogtownCure The Hogtown Cure Deli & Cafe 1484 Dundas Street West, Queer West Toronto, ON. (416) 994-6235 There is also Salsicharia Pavao (Deli) 1435 Dundas St W is a fixture in Little Portugal and a longtime Toronto source for imported Portuguese groceries and freshly prepared meats. Review by BlogTO

The popularity of the neighbourhood has caught the eye of Real Estate Developers in 2012. 1544 Dundas Street West Development plans a mega structure at the corner of Dundas W. and Sheridan Ave, now a empty lot for past 3 yrs, next door to popular queer nightclub The Henhouse. The developer is proposing to build a mid-rise, 8 storey building housing 87 units (20,000 square feet) with retail space on the ground floor. The development will also include 2 levels of parking and require further remediation of the site. The height limit currently is 45 meters.

The nice thing about Brockton Village is the absence of drunken whooping, booming bass, honking taxis, and piles of puke one finds on the sidewalks in Parkdale There are a few small place to dance cheek to cheek; Bambi's The Garrison, Mojo Lounge, Henhouse and Bar 1602, Restaurant life on Dundas West Members of the Brockton Triangle Neighbours(Group) on Facebooik seem happy with village life, with no complaints.

Many new art galleries are springing up weeds along Dundas W. There's Wil Kucey, LE Gallery, 1183 Dundas W east of Dufferin. Then there's loop Gallery, 1273 Dundas St. and Alison Smith Gallery, 1410 Dundas Street West. Jessica Bradley Art + Projects, 1450 Dundas east of Dufferin Street aand the art store Art Metropole at 1490 Dundas W.. Ms. Bradley, a former curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, was drawn to the Dundas and Dufferin area three years ago for similar reasons. "I could see what was going on, down on Queen Street, where the rents were doubling and tripling, driving the galleries out. ... When I saw this space, I just thought it was in the right zone." said Bradley West end clothing stores continue to move north from Queen Street.

Two new restaurants opened up in March 2012 The Federal, 1438 Dundas St. W., 647-352-9150 Review and a few doors way is Midfield Wine Bar and Tavern, 1434 Dundas St. W., 647-375-7005 Review

The Magwood Vintage Shop with a careful selection of vintage apparel. Magwood’s racks are filled with sophisticated, ladylike separates — many from the ’40s and ’50 Magwood 1418 Dundas St. W., 416-818-3975,

The best gay friendly store in the village is Sun Milk Convenience Store 1547 Dundas Street West South east corner of Sheridan Avenue, 416-531-8580 Owner Sylvia Jung, has all of your weekly needs from bread and milk to sewing your ripped pants to a dry cleaning business. A popular item among her gay clients are Colt Sweet Cigarillos. Opened around 10 am to 11pm https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000263259652

Chef Nathan Isberg at the Atlantic Restaurant 1597 Dundas St. W. Phone Number: 416-219-3819. Nate left behind more jaded Queen Street West when he took over this Portuguese tavern. Now it’s affordable, earnest and rich in character – which pretty much sums up the hood.

TWO BATHHOUSES are in the Queer West Village (Better know as The Tubs) There's the Central Spa (Bathhouse) -The cleanest bathhouse in the city,populated by mostly older gay men and some curious closet cases from the portuguese neighbourhood, out for a quicky) 1610 Dundas St. West 2nd Floor at Brock Ave, two blocks west of Dufferin northside. 416. 588.6191. 15 rooms, 60 lockers (noon-3am, 7 days/wk), regular room: $15, locker: $10 Very busy: Sundays noon-8pm. It opened in 1997 and offers several services. Kill the time while cruising with a “Scrub’n’Wash” from one of the staff. The also have an only queer women's evening. Other services include pedicures, Vibrasage and body shaving. Services are $25/30 minutes, $40/hour + $5/half hour for stone treatment. Add 10 minutes for $10.www.centralspa.ca

If your into old world charm. Then take a Shvitz! at the Oak Leaf Steam Bath, founded n 1941. 216 Bathurst St at Queen W. T: 416-603-3434 The basement and first floor are used by homeless guys and old heterosexual European men who are there for the steam and to sleep (Discretion is advised.) Age group: 30 to just under 90. The top (second) floor is exclusively gay by mutual consent. No glory holes, no dark rooms, no props. The place has changed little since it opened in 1941. Facilities: Two large ancient semi-dry saunas, one small renovated steam room, on 3 floors, 37 rooms. Hours:24 hours, except Tuesday, when it opens at 5 pm. Best times: Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon. Rooms: $12 for four hours or $20 for over night. Lockers $12 for 12 hours. Cruisiest Spots: Top floor. * Wheelchair Accessible: No. No Website.


toronto queer arts festival poster

Ecuador born artist José Ortega co-founded Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West, with Jose Nieves. Over the years, Lula has hosted Latin jazz and salsa performers, as well as rock, blues, chamber, Brazilian and African musicians, and alternative musicians like Metric and Feist. Dundas West in 2002, was a low-rent zone of bakeries, car garages, sheet metal and plumbing suppliers and a rash of Portuguese sports bars. "Then ago, the area had this ugly-duckling vibe," Ortega said. "But ... it felt more authentic, more real, a working-class neighbourhood where artists and bakers and construction workers and store owners come and do their work."

Mr. Ortega has created brightly coloured street banners for Dundas Street West, which feature a pair of open hands cradling a neighbourhood growing beneath a golden sun. "That's what I think of the neighbourhood," Mr. Ortega says from his art studio on Dundas West. "It is vibrant, on the cusp of change, but still friendly and unpretentious. Ortega, who was awarded the 2010 Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition for his contribution to Toronto’s musical life, describes himself as an art monk dedicated to a life of art.

With the opening of the Alison Smith Gallery, 1410 Dundas Street West, was the latest sign of the once-homely neighbourhood's transformation. Grain, Curd & Bean, 1414 Dundas Street, a high-end cheese shop, specializes in three things: bread, cheese and coffee. More specialty store than cafe, this new spot does have some stools by the front window, but, generally, it's more of a take out spot than somewhere to meet-up, surf WiFi or otherwise pass the time.

The village is home to Dundas Street West hotspot OMG Baked Goodness 1561 Dundas St W. (647) 348-5664. The shop will first catch your eye with its striking pink and brown sign, Elk antlers in the window, and graffiti adorning its walls Naco Gallery and Cafe 1665 Dundas W. closed on December 17, 2011 (Their three year lease was up, building owner wanted the space for themselves. pity) Naco's was known for its all-inclusive, queer-friendly environment, never short of experimental in its offerings from art shows to dance nights.Jason's Placeopened at 1602 Dundas W opened same day Naco's closed. It's just begining to hold a few gay events like Ranga and Queer West Fest launch party last August.

The design shop of Lubo Brezina who hail's from Bratislava, Slovakia (1659 Dundas St W) creates furniture from recycled and reclaimed wood.And everywhere artists in Bockton Village, are inhabiting little bits of cheap space, as their studios and lofts in other parts of town, are turned into condos.

The Common 1071 College Street, two blocks west of Dufferin southside. 416.546.7789 Free Internet (WiFi) - A hidden gem. Unlike other cafes in Queer West, that discouage loitering over one latte, this place dosen't mind. It attracts a fairly artsy crowd of LGBT friends, where everyone seems to know everyone else, many of whom sip lattes while designing web sites on their Macbooks. Wonderful spot for cruising, if you come alone. Age group is roughly 20s to mid 40's, the odd local senior citzen, drops in now and again. The Common can sometimes feel like a west end hipster (including students and baby toting moms). version of Central Perk, the coffee shop from Friends. That's not a bad thing, what's not to love about a place where everybody knows your name? There's no menu on the wall never fear ask the staff, they can make you pretty much anything you want. Long wooden benches and tables give the room a kind of unavoidably communal feeling. Since its very popular, you may not get a place to sit.. Still it serves the best coffee in the city, hands down!. Damn good London Fog and the Cappuccinos are top notch as well, plus they also use organic milk oh did I mention they have a tea, from Silk Road. Not Wheelchair Accessible though. Cash only.

The Henhouse at 1532 Dundas St W. 416-534-5939 (Under new management with owner Bobby Vallen, former bartender at Gladstone Hotel.) Can be found on north side, just past Dufferin. Wonderful cozy little bar, where even strangers are friendly. Although mixed crowd, a disproportionate amount of gays come here. Way more than 10 percent of the people here are gay. . Henhouse has become one of the most popular up-and-coming lesbian bars on the Queer West scene. Open 6 PM to 3 AM, every day best to go Friday or Saturday night, when the 1950 jukebox is jumping with Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kate Bush, Donna Summer, Blondie. Most played Fleetwood Mac, Dolly Parton. www.henhousetoronto.com

Other places to explore

Eco friendly green space Bike ride along the Martin Goodman (Waterfront) Trail -Mississauga to Toronto Lakeshore or at the annual Toronto Pride Ride. as a guest with the 160 member Gay West Bicycle Club.

Queer West Toronto, Ontario boasts some of the most beautiful parkland and nature trails in the city. High Park is Toronto's largest greenspace and a beautiful park, with a pond (Grenadier Pond), a small zoo, and an outdoor stage which houses an annual summer Shakespeare production called "Dream in High Park." Celebrate our annual Cherry Blossom Festival with a visit to High Park and participate in the centuries old Japanese tradition of Sakura Hanami, roughly translated as “cherry blossom flower viewing”. The spectacular flowering of the Sakura (Japanese flowering cherry) trees is not to be missed – plan on spending at least an hour wandering under the blossoms and appreciating the beauty of High Park in the spring

(Public Transit: 506 College streetcars from downtown, Takes you right into the Park. You can come another way via 501 Queen streetcars have a stop at the south end of the park, by Grenadier Pond; from downtown make sure you board a westbound streetcar with a destination sign of "Long Branch" or "Humber" and get off at Colborne Lodge Drive.)

The best vintage clothing stores are in Queer West Toronto - brimming with unique finds, some dating back to the late 1800s. From high-end and designer to cheap-and-cheerful rock tees and poly frocks, the variety is almost endless. Parkdale, Ossington, Kensington Market, and Dundas West (Brockton Village) are the major epicenters. Visitors from all over the world come to shop for Vintage clothing .

The best gay (sand) bar in Toronto, is located in Queer West End on Hanlan's Point (One of several recreational island across the Toronto harbour.) n the balmy summer of 2011, it’s hard to believe anyone ever had any issues with Hanlan’s Point. On any given day, the clothing-optional beach is arrayed with all kinds of bodies, some bathing-suited, some not. Hot Saturdays in recent years have often been shoulder-to-shoulder, with a vibe — at least in the fantasies of the gay men who still tend to make up the majority of the beach’s frequenters — not unlike Baillie Walsh’s video for Kylie Minogue’s “Slow”(which is, consequently, inevitably blaring from a large proportion of iPod speakers). In essence, Hanlan’s has become sexy. With its liberal mix of West and East End boys, it may be shaping up to be one of Toronto’s best gay bars. Getting There

There's lots of Festivals going on in the Queer West Toronto during the summer; Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival (August 1st weekend), Queer West Arts Festival (early August) Toronto African Dance Festival (mid august); Beer Festival (Fort York first weekend in August) and Canadian National Exhibition late August early September) .

IF YOU COME

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has service on nearly every major airline. Toronto is also severed by VIA Rail. As well, it’s within easy driving distance of many eastern Canadian and US centres. Over View of The City of Toronto, Ontario

EAT:

Famous Beaver Cafe West Queen West

Beaver Café, 1192 Queen Street West, 416 537-2768 – Serving healthy creations during the day and providing queer entertainment at night. Complete meals for around $10.00. Check local listings for evening events

Easy Restaurant, 1645 Queen Street West, 416 537-4893 – A diner of sorts serving huge mouth watering portions. Their specialty is breakfast and located steps from the lakefront so you can walk it all off afterward. Complete meals for around $15.00. Licensed but not open in the evenings.

Mitzi’s Café and Mitzi’s Sister – the cozy Café in picture (100 Sorauren Avenue - 416 588-1234) is a haven for weekend brunch. Complete meals for around $15.00. The bigger Sister (1554 Queen Street West - 416 532-2570) offers an assortment of meals and is a hotbed for local evening entertainment. Serves upscale pub-grub with complete meals including beverage for around $20.00. There’s never a cover charge and both gay owned.

There are now over 70, safe friendly Bars, Cafes and Restaurants, where owners, welcome all orientations. There have been no reports of gay bashings since 1978, in the QWT. For travel visitors, there are now over 200 events in theatres,cinemas, galleries, bars, cafes, Restaurants and the community every day of the week, in Queer West Toronto, Ontario.

MARRIAGE:

Sorauren Park

It's official! At 6:09 pm on Wednesday, July 20, 2005, the Equal Marriage Bill was proclaimed into law in Canada, making it legal for same-sex couples to exchange vows from coast to coast. Two years previously, the Province of Ontario, announced the legalization of same-sex marriage on July 12, 2002, and as a result hundreds of couples from around the world have come to Ontario and other regions of our province to legally exchange vows.

Marriage requirement for the Province of Ontario: Marriage licenses, valid anywhere in Ontario for three months from the date of issue, cost about $83 and are available from any municipal office in Ontario. Both parties must sign an application form and submit it in person, along with a passport or birth certificate and one other photo I.D. There are no residency or citizenship requirements, and a blood test is not required.

Same sex marriage information and requirements for Province of Ontario and City of Toronto, official government websites.

PRAY:

St. John's Anglican Church - 288 Humberside Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. Telephone: 416-763-2393 The parish of St. John's serves the neighbourhoods of historic West Toronto (Parkdale-High Park) including the Bloor West Village. St John's, is a church that welcomes and affirms gays and lesbians.

SLEEP:

Old Mill Inn & Spa

Day’s Inn Toronto West Lakeshore, 14 Roncesvalles Ave, 416 532 9900, Rates from $74.00 to $169.00 depending on season. A five-minute walk to Sunnyside Beach at Lake Ontario, and includes breakfast. daysinn.ca

Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St W, 416 531 5042, 19 rooms. Chosen by Travel and Leisure Magazine is one of the world's top 500 hotels in 2006. Rates from $179.00 to $289.00 for individually artist designed rooms. Choose based on your mood swings at check-in time. thedrakehotel.ca

The Old Mill Inn & Spa, 21 Old Mill Road, 416 236 2641. In 1793 the Kings Mill - the forerunner to Today's Old Mill - was built in order to process lumber for the first homes in Toronto. Rates from $219.00 to $659.00 depending on season. A classic addition to the historic Old Mill Restaurant, Meeting and Conference facility. On the banks of the Humber River. Right on the Bloor Subway line. This exclusive Boutique Inn incorporates, 59 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, together with a pampering Spa. oldmilltoronto.com

Beaconsfield Bed and Breakfast - 38 Beaconsfield Avenue (at Queen Street West),  (416) 535-3338. Gay friendly. Hosts: Bernie and Katya McLoughlin. Trinity Bellwoods, Art & Design District. Queer West Village Toronto, Ontario.

Toronto Townhouse - 384 Clinton Street. Toll Free in North America (except Toronto) 1.877.500.0466  Local & outside north America 416.323.8898    Gay friendly. Proud winners of a Toronto Tourism Award in 1999 and 2000. Your Hosts: Frank & Tan. Email us at host@earlplacebnb-toronto.com This is one of two Townhouses we own, and located in The Annex neighbourhood.Queer West Toronto, Ontario.

Travelodge Toronto Downtown West - 621 King Street West (at Bathurst Street)    Toll free: 1-800-578-7878. This hotel is a true gem! The staff is personable and friendly, the rooms are comfortable. And a free breakfast to boot. Fashion District, Queer West Village Toronto, Ontario.

 

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