Toronto Canada’s diverse, eclectic and vibrant city with a ‘Gay Village’
One of Canada's most vibrant and eclectic cities, Toronto is Canada's largest city and the country's bona fide hub of fine arts, theatre, fashionable shopping, sophisticated dining and hotels.
The diverse population of Toronto reflects its current and historical role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. More than half of residents were born outside of Canada, and belong to a visible minority group. There are over 200 distinct ethnic origins represented among its inhabitants.
The rights of lesbians, gay men, lesbian women, and transgender and queer people (LGBTQ) in Canada are among the most robust and comprehensive in the world.
In 1969, same-sex relationships became legal throughout Canada, and later the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1995 that sexual orientation is protected by the constitution.
Later, Canada became the first nation in the Americas and the fourth country overall to allow same-sex unions on a national level in 2005.
The epicentre of the LGBTQ is in the area of downtown called the Gay Village or, more often, just "the Village." It's also cantered around the intersection of Church and Wellesley streets, and this is where you'll find the biggest concentration of bars, stores, and community centres that cater directly to the LGBTQ community.
Toronto is also one of the only cities in the world to have multiple gay districts and once here you’ll have the option of exploring the edgier Queer West Village, fuelled by happening restaurants and almost post-gay hipster bars, and Old Cabbagetown which is another up-and-coming gaybourhood.
Toronto’s public transportation system consists of buses, a subway, buses, and trams are run by Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
The routes are extensive and affordable, and while some locals love to complain about it, Toronto has the top-ranked public transit system in Canada.
Pearson International Airport (YYZ), is about 40 km from downtown.
The UP Express departing every 15 minutes, between 5.30 am and 1.00 am with free Wi-Fi and a journey time of 25 minutes to Union Station downtown.
A taxi from Pearson International airport to downtown will cost over $60CAD to downtown.
Places to stay
Toronto is Canada’s undisputed largest city with 140 neighbourhoods.
Staying in Downtown Toronto (located in Old Toronto District) is the most convenient choice if visiting for the first time or if you only have a couple of days in the city.
Toronto flourishing LGBTQ scene is in the northeast sector of Downtown. The Village has few accommodations (although there are a few very attractive and welcoming B&Bs, including Victoria's Mansion, Chicago House, and Dundonald House among them), but the neighbourhood is within a 10- to 20-minute walk of many downtown Toronto hotels.
The Entertainment District is both very central & vibrant, so a great choice for anyone that’s looking for nightlife, convenience, and being close to all the main Toronto tourist attractions.
West Queen West, a super cool and trendy neighbourhood! In this area, you’ll encounter artists, fashion lovers, street art everywhere, as well as cool bars, excellent restaurants that serve international cuisines, cafes, and many galleries.
CN Tower is one of Canada’s greatest landmarks and one of the seven wonders of the modern world. At 553 metres in height, you can take an elevator up to the revolving 360 Restaurant for world-class dining.
The Toronto Islands are 10 minutes from the city of Toronto to enter a completely different world by hopping on a ferry. The Toronto Islands, an attraction-filled destination with no cars. The three big island Centre, Ward’s and Algonquin are connected by a series of pathways and bridges. Along the water you’ll find four beautiful beaches, summer cottages from the 1920s and impressive English gardens.
St. Lawrence Market is situated in the middle of Toronto’s historic Old Town district you’ll find one of the city’s best foodie destinations. The market has existed since 1803 and evolved as an authentic farmer’s market. Complete with specialty foods and restaurants for every taste.
Bars, Clubs & Parties
The epicentre of the LGBTQ neighbourhood in Toronto is around the intersection of Church and Wellesley streets and now often referred to as the "Gay Village" or, more often, just "the Village." In this area you'll find the biggest concentration of bars and stores that cater directly for the LGBTQ community.
Boutique Bar is a high-end cocktail bar nestled amidst the other gay bars in the area and another perfect spot to grab a drink and meet up with friends.
Woody’s which is often called the Cheers of Toronto is in fact several bars where you can chill with a beer, meet friends or catch one of the popular drag shows.
Statler’s is the gay village famed piano bar where budding musicians entertain both the patrons and the passing public. Its live entertainment and terrace are perfect for those looking for a little more sedate vibe away from crowds and parties.
O’Grady’s On Church is a restaurant and bar, serving homemade breakfast, lunch, and dinner using only the freshest ingredients made in-house with craft beer or delicious cocktails in the heart of Toronto’s bustling Gay Village.
Crews And Tangos is the most popular Drag Bar in the heart of the Church-Wellesley Gay Village. A popular bar and fabulous party destination offering main stage drag performances every night of the week!
Cafes & Restaurants
Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world with a wide variety of ethnic restaurants. From Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Sushi and more there are restaurants for all tastes.
Church Street Garage is a LGBTQ restaurant in the gay village open for breakfast right through to dinner time. The have frequent drag shows and karaoke nights.
The Black Eagle used to be exclusively for the leather fetish community to meet and play. Having changed management, it now hosts regular theme nights so there’s still plenty of opportunity for those who want to get a little kinky.
Steamworks is a private men's gym & sauna for men 18 years and older located in The Village. Cabins are available for rent but there are plenty of public spaces to play as well. No alcohol is served in this facility but you can purchase a variety of snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.
In the gay village there are a number of stores specifically for the LGBTQ community.
Out on the Street is a three-story ‘gay department store’ selling clothing, sex toys, pride jewellery or more.
NorthBound Leather is a leather and fetish accessories store selling harnesses to jockstraps and more.
Glad Day Bookshop established in 1970 and was the country’s first queer bookshop. The hold events to discover and shop for the newest books. The store has become something of a community centre having been open for so long.
Queeriosity is a Black and Proud trans-founded, operated, and owned card game company with headquarters in Toronto. Two friends Eli and Kai took things into their hands after noting the lack of availability of LGBTQ+ representation in a variety of party games.
Main LGBT Events
The Inside Out Film and Video Festival held annually in May celebrates the best of queer film from Canada and around the world. Dedicated exclusively to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer films Inside Out is one of the critical North American forums of international LGBTQ film/video.
Toronto Pride is the largest LGBTQ event in Canada held in June with hundreds of events (both official and unofficial) throughout the whole pride month. The highlights include several stages with live performers and DJs, a large Dyke March, a Trans March and the Pride Parade. The Pride Parade featured over 120 marching groups and 40 registered floats.
Prism is one of North America’s largest gay circuit music festivals with 4 days of events held in late June in conjunction with Toronto Pride. Every year thousands of the gay community party from around the globe attend Prism Festival making it one of the crown jewels of Toronto Pride.
Toronto Leather Pride then follows on typically the weekend after Toronto Pride as an event for the fetish, leather and “non vanilla” people of Toronto and beyond to host a unique celebration of solidarity together with a party atmosphere that raises funds for local charities.
The highlight of the event is the Leather Ball, Toronto’s Leather Ball weekend is strictly for the leather boys with a strictly enforced dress code of leather. Up to 2,500 leather clad party-goers attend.
Church Street’s Halloween Night Party is Canada’s biggest and best Halloween block party held in late October. The gay village transforms into Toronto’s most wicked street party on Halloween night and a pedestrian-only boulevard opens up for a wave of Halloween-dressed party goers. Thousands of people filling up six blocks in the LGBTQ neighbourhood The Village’s cafés, and bars are open all night.
Currency – Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Language – English, French
Visas - All EU nationals are considered visa-exempt for stays up to six months but all must complete an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). US citizens do not need a visa or an eTA to enter Canada.
Best Time To Visit – April - October
Timezones – There are six time zones in Canada: Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern and Atlantic Standard Time.
Homosexual Activity – Legal
Sexy Men's Wear
Fetish Men's Wear
What's Your Fetish?
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