For decades, Toronto has been referred to as ‘the most multicultural city in the world’.
A reputation which was solidified when the BBC gave Toronto this exact title in 2016. The city boasts 200 ethnic groups with over 140 languages spoken. This melting pot of cultures has created a very special energy in the city - an energy of inclusiveness. And Toronto CELEBRATES it’s uniqueness.
Toronto’s Gay Village has undergone major transformation over the last 5 years, with institution bars and restaurants closing their doors, while exciting new things rise to take their place. No longer only a Gay Village-centric city, Toronto now offers gay restaurants, bars, and vendors in both the east and west ends of the city. But if you don’t have a lot of time and want the best bang for your buck, the Gay Village is still your best bet.
The epicenter of the Village is the intersection of Church and Wellesley, easily reached by taking the TTC (Toronto Subway) to Yonge and Wellesley station. In the village you will find restaurants of many different cuisines, gay bars and nightclubs, queer theatre, fetish nights, gay barbershops, thrumming patios, coffee shops, drag shows, leather bars, lodgings, saunas and shopping. Toronto has a huge gay population and in the village they have created a wonderful environment for you to have a truly well-rounded experience.
If you want to explore and experience a less concentrated gay neighbourhood, but still very gay friendly, you will want to head to the Queen West and/or Beaches neighbourhoods. Both of which feature great shopping, hip bars, cafes, restaurants, and some more alt-gay nightlife.
Toronto’s Entertainment District offers very touristy but also very good restaurants to have a bite before seeing a world-class theatre production. Great daytime adventures in the city would include it’s skyline-famous CN tower (the Edge Walk - walking the outside perimeter of the top of the tower, is highly recommended). St. Lawrence and Kensington Markets are wonderful places to spend the afternoon wandering and perusing antiques and vintage items. Outdoor spaces like High Park, and the Waterfront are great ways to pass an afternoon. This writer's personal favorite however, would be to take a short ferry ride to Toronto Island for cycling and sun worshipping on the clothing-optional far end of Hanlan’s Point Beach. If you time your return from the island perfectly you can catch the city skyline from across the lake right at sundown, which is an absolutely fabulous vista.
Special LGBT2Q+ events are celebrated year round, so you’ll want to check a calendar (www.churchwellesleyvillage.ca) when planning your trip. A major standout is Toronto’s world-renowned Pride Week at the end of June, which attracts more than a million attendees both gay AND straight.
With it’s inclusive multi-cultural energy and diverse sights and experiences, Toronto is truly one-of-a-kind. But although it has a lot to offer year-round, it should be noted that it definitely comes to life mostly in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
~ Jeff Kirkwood