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Words by: Izabela Shubair While our downtown core is home to the Village — the hub of annual Pride activities
Words by: Izabela Shubair
Vibrant 2SLGBTQI+ culture, one of North America’s largest Pride festivals, and plenty of unique experiences make Toronto a top LGBTQ travel destination. These organizations and venues amplify queer voices all year long while also hosting instantly memorable events.
For some, it’s the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood. For others, it’s simply the Village. Whatever you call it, this area has been an enclave for the 2SLGBTQI+ community since the 1960s. While it’s known for its buzzy club scene and bustling cafes, restaurants, and bars, our most well-known queer neighbourhood is also home to organizations that cultivate a true sense of togetherness. These two are staples.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Glad Day Bookshop (@gladdaybookshop)
A post shared by Glad Day Bookshop (@gladdaybookshop)
Nearly as old as the Village itself, Glad Day Bookshop has been offering up the widest selection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, and queer literature since 1970. In fact, it’s the oldest queer bookstore worldwide. Much more than hardcovers and paperbacks, Glad Day Bookshop also plays host to various events — from a weekly brunch to comedy shows.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by The 519 (@the519)
A post shared by The 519 (@the519)
If you’re looking for everything from community wellness to initiatives for families and children or older 2SLGBTQI+ adults, The 519 is the place to go. As a most prominent 2SLGBTQI+ Toronto community centre and service provider, this registered charity offers programming and services all over the city, a space where organizations and nonprofit groups can meet, and more.
The Village definitely isn’t the only place in Toronto for 2SLGBTQI+ nightlife. Whether it’s permanent venues or organizations that throw great parties in various spaces, here are two ways to dance the night away.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Impact Lounge (@impactloungeto)
A post shared by Impact Lounge (@impactloungeto)
Head over to the Cabbagetown neighbourhood — which is known for its city-farm, a diverse range of global eats, and iconic Victorian architecture — to party at the self-proclaimed “queer POC community restaurant and lounge”. Having opened in January 2023, Impact Lounge provides live entertainment from local artists and, on some nights, you can even catch stand-up comedy. Plus, food is served until 2 am.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by SO FIERCE MUSIC (@sofiercemusic)
A post shared by SO FIERCE MUSIC (@sofiercemusic)
A music label and an entertainment company in one, So Fierce Music (SFM) is made up of producers, songwriters, video directors, and musicians who have over 30 years of industry experience. Beyond being a place for 2SLGBTQI+ musicians to thrive, SFM also hosts unique events such as an alternative Pride rave and Pride galas.
Want to take in some humour? Check out the wide range of events that Gay AF Comedy hosts across Toronto. Known for bringing comics from all intersections of the 2SLGBTQI+ community to the stage, the organization’s shows have taken place in iconic Toronto comedy venues such as the Comedy Bar and Nothing Fancy.
Whether you enjoy watching singing or acting on stage, Toronto has options that amplify 2SLGBTQ+ voices and stories. These organizations are sure to inspire and entertain.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (@buddiesto)
A post shared by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (@buddiesto)
Since 1979, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre has established itself as the largest and longest-running queer theatre in the world. Not only does the stage company offer a full season of productions, it also hosts new works festivals, artist residencies, and intergenerational training and education initiatives.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Flare Productions (@theflareproductions)
A post shared by The Flare Productions (@theflareproductions)
Aiming to invoke change and disrupt the standard structure of Canadian theatre, The Flare Productions is a woman-created and female-, femme-, and queer-led production company. From interactive shows and cabarets to an emerging playwright reading series, The Flare has brought its productions to stages such as The Assembly Theatre and Artscape Youngplace.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Singing Out (@singingoutlgbtq)
A post shared by Singing Out (@singingoutlgbtq)
It’s rare to find a mixed-voice, non-auditioned choir. But that’s exactly what you get with Singing Out, Toronto’s largest 2SLGBTQQIA+ community choir. Creating a welcoming space, this singing community has been performing for 30 years.