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With one of the country's most vibrant gay districts, it's no wonder Toronto is on top.
NOTE: NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded article on Toronto click DailyXtraTravel
Founded in 1793, the city originally
known as York was populated by
many fleeing Loyalists from the United
States. Resentment lingered for
some time after US forces raided and
pillaged the community during the
War of 1812. In 1834, the city became
known as Toronto, from tkaronto,
the Mohawk name for the narrows.
Growing rapidly since the end of
the 19th century, metropolitan
Toronto now has over five million
people. Almost half the city's
residents were born outside Canada,
making this a multicultural as well
as an economic powerhouse. Ranked among
the 14 most visited world
cities, there's plenty of gay life and
lots of businesses competing for
the pink dollar.
The Gay Village, around the intersection
of Church and Wellesley,
contains many sophisticated bars, cafes,
and restaurants. There's an
interesting street scene of guys and
girls strolling up and down the
sidewalks, particularly on Church
Street. Take advantage of the window
seats at any of the bars or grab a table
at the many patio restaurants
to watch the passing parade. The
increasingly gay West Queen West,
(start your explorations at the
Gladstone Hotel), is a vibrant district
mixing together all kinds of young,
creative and alternative types.
(107 Gloucester; 416-925-4499) leather-
themed guest rooms.
Cawthra Square Inns (514 Jarvis;
416-966-0013) luxury at three
Inn (30A Dundonald; 416-
guesthouse, steps from Church and
Wellesley, private baths.
Hotel (1214 Queen W; 416-531-
4635) in Queer West,
boutique hotel, 37 artist-designed
McGill (110 McGill; 416-351-
1503) longtime favorite,
straight/gay clientele, mostly shared
Toronto (370 King; 416-343-1234)
Hotel (556 Sherbourne; 416-922-
building, cozy rooms.
Courtyard (475 Yonge; 416-924-
0611) gay area, full
service hotel, free internet.
(96 Gerrard E; 416-977-2320) student
individuals and groups, summer budget
Bloor (90 Bloor E; 416-961-8000)
shopping quarter hotel, walk to gay
Suites (620 Church; 416-964-
3311) kitchens, work
spaces, living and sleeping areas.
Hotel (955 Bay; 416-924-9221)
rooms and suites, near gay
Mansion (68 Gloucester; 416-921-
rates, private baths.
Bars & Clubs: Gay Village
(457 Church) bi-level leather, fetish
and cruise bar,
patio, barbecues, bear and naked
Firkin Pub (475 Church) central
ambiance, summer patio, comfort food,
many beers on tap.
Buddies in Bad
Times Theatre (12 Alexander)
productions, bar after 10:30pm Friday
(499 Church) upscale crowd, mixed ages,
and restaurant, weekend DJs.
Den (502A Yonge) nightly live
drag, smoking patio, summer
(120 Church St) queer pansexual
playground, live sex
on- and off-stage, porn stars, hot
Maitland) stylish downtown cocktail
O'Grady's Tap and
Grill (518 Church) cozy pub and
fireplaces, patios, Friday night
Church (489 Church) upstairs
neighborhood bar, games galore,
pool tables, big TVs screen sports and
Church (504 Church) cabaret and
piano bar, daily bingo,
classic drag, younger Latin weekend
(377 Yonge) male strip club, private
Church) next door to Woody's, in heart
(467 Church) city's busiest bar,
cavernous complex, view
of street, hot men shows, bartender
Bars & Clubs:
Bars, West Queen West
(70 Ossington) mixed crowd of hipsters
and expats, casual
ambience, good local DJs.
(1192 Queen West) popular diner and bar,
great evening music, patio, diverse
Tavern (249 Ossington) country
music bar, live
performers, burgers and chili, Sunday
Block (88 Ossington) vintage
bar, brunch and dinner,
energetic Wednesday to Saturday after-
dinner dance club.
Melody Bar at
Gladstone Hotel (Gladstone
Hotel, 1214 Queen West) 1930s-era decor,
piano bar, live entertainment, ballroom
Sister(1554 Queen West) mixed
space for lunch, brunch,
dinner, burlesque, live bands.
Caf√© (1665 Dundas West)
authentic and spicy Mexican
food, art gallery, third Fridays Latin
Church) big space, underwear parties,
room, after-hours dancing.
Zone (484 Spadina) Sunday after-
hours dancing goes on
well into Monday.
Rico (750 College) gay,
straight, tranny mix, hot
and sweaty Latin dance club, legendary
Gloucester) warehouse-size club, great
sound and light
systems, local and guest DJs, open late
(553 Church) queer house/electro dance
nightclub, champagne bar, sleek modern
(1279 Queen West) huge dance floor,
serious DJs, first
Fridays queer hip-hop party.
Carlton) piano lounge, classic drag
cabaret, secluded patio, inner dance
Adam & Eve
Chocolatier (97 Maitland)
magical realm for cocoa and
Robbins (536 Church) cones,
sundaes, shakes, and frozen
(499 Church) chic martini lounge and
front opens to summer patio.
California (538 Church) relaxed
Firkin Pub (475 Church) daily
fish and chips, savory pies, pleasant
(655 Bay) vegetarian-vegan heaven, hot
buffets, breakfast from 7am.
Fire On The East
Side (6 Gloucester) southern-
with global flair, wine or before-club
Church) top-tier restaurant, garden
dining in great mansion, nightly events,
Hair of the
Dog (425 Church) upscale
neighborhood pub, patio,
varied menu, generous servings, late
(491 Church) famous for wood-oven
pizzas, a special
O'Grady's Tap and
Grill (518 Church) breakfast,
dinner, homemade pub grub, packed
(123 Danforth) live music, pub fare and
many beers on tap, patio, organic
Pizza (8 Gloucester) Italian
pizzas and panzarotti.
Church (489 Church) two-level
Italian restaurant and
Church) healthy Indian eatery, take-out
Church) art-deco lounge and restaurant
Victorian mansion, seasonal patios.
(692 Yonge Street) recently moved, with drag shows and dining, weekend theme
parties, and fantabulous happenings in
heels, with popular patio.
Saunas & sex clubs
Mutual) outdoor pool, Sunday barbecues,
Wellesley) subterranean recess, famous
exceptionally dark ambiance.
(105 Carlton) glass and tile wet area,
videos, sling, St Andrew's cross, bar,
rooftop sun deck.
(540 Church, 2nd floor)
gorgeous steel and glass
design, full gym, steamy amenities, 18-
(543 Yonge, 4th
floor) complete bathhouse facilities,
theme spaces include sling,
(9 St. Joseph) gay body factory, cardio
Pilates, yoga, spinning.
Grosvenor) gayest of the YMCAs, first-
time visitors get
in free, gym, pool, sports facility.
Bookshop (598A Yong) famous queer
icon, gay literature,
periodicals, videos, music and
Leather (586 Yonge) world of
fetish fashions, leather
clothing, lingerie, kinky gear and
Church) big sportswear, leather, rubber
boutique, sex and fetish toys, magazines
(449 Church, and 239 Yonge) and Love
Shop (489 Church)
are adult retail stores in the gay
About, glossy magazine about gay
entertainment and lifestyle.
fab, biweekly magazine, covers
gay scene from nightclubs to
galleries, fashion to music.
Story, news, reviews and
listings from the
other side of Toronto.
news, commentary, events, listings,
arts, classifieds, photos,
online links and forums.
International Airport has
express bus service for $20 in
Canadian currency. It's just over $5 on
the city's public transit
The TTC and Go transit
systems have buses and subways that
area and connect with other regional
systems. Multi-ticket and day pass
plans are available.
Inside Out Lesbian and
Gay Film and Video Festival
Annual screenings, this year May 20-30, 2010
Lots of parties and events
culminating in a parades, music
stages and street fairs across a dozen
blocks of the Gay Village.
June 25 - July 4, 2010
Toronto Fringe Theater Festival
June 30 - July 11, 2010
Queer West Film Festival
August 14, 2010
Took place in August 2009
For 2010 dates check their website
Weeklong celebration closes down Church
Street for tricks, treats and
lots of eye candy.
Big, wild, euphoric annual leather celebration; one of the best of it's kind in North America.
November 25-28, 2010
Toronto's top experiences
It takes a village.The Gay
Village, around the intersection of Church and Wellesley, contains many
sophisticated bars, cafes, and restaurants. There's an interesting
street scene of guys and girls strolling up and down the sidewalks,
particularly along Church Street.
Go west, young man.The increasingly gay West Queen West, (start your explorations at the
Gladstone Hotel), is a vibrant district mixing together all kinds of
young, creative and alternative types.
Island boy. Take the ferry from Harbourfront to Toronto Island.
In summer, check out the gay beach at Hanlan's Point.
Play and stay. Take a weekend theater trip to either the
Stratford Festival in Stratford or the Shaw Festival at Niagara on the
Rub-a-dub-dub. Toronto gays fought to keep their bathhouses open
(police wouldn't dare harass them now) and the selection today is most