To say that Toronto, Canada, is bursting with options for gay and lesbian travelers would not be an exaggeration. I have fond memories of year-round fun and festivities during the years my parents moved to the city and I was living with a foot in both California and Ontario. There’s a real sense of cohesion and interdependence in the community’s businesses, it’s local residents, and visitors creating a hub of gay life in the Wellesley “Village”. The end result is a modern city with major draw for LGBT visitors like few places can attain.
- Gay Pride & Events
Pride Toronto has grown in size and popularity. With over one million attendees, Toronto’s Pride festival and parade week is one of the biggest in the world. When planning a trip for Pride, ensure you book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Clubs, Bars and Nightlife
Toronto’s nightlife and gay establishments are clustered around the Church Wellesley Village , adjacent to the Wellesley TTC metro station. The dual bars of Woody’s and Sailor are an institution drawing local and international visitors alike. Nearby Byzantium is a restaurant bar with mean martinis and lays claim to being the first martini bar in Toronto. Around the corner, the Fly rocketed to worldwide fame with the filming of the American version of Queer as Folk.
- Sights, Sounds, and Attractions
Start your village explorations at Cawthra Square on Church just south of Gloucester with a sobering visit to the AIDS Memorial. You can stroll down Church Street to the Alexander Wood statue at the corner of Alexander Street, covering the bulk of the village while window shopping. Make sure to visit the palatial Casa Loma, former mansion and dream home of Sir Henry Pellatt, now a museum, complete with ornate interiors and lavish gardens. Another must-see is the Royal Ontario Museum, featuring some of the best permanent exhibits anywhere. For the thrill seeking, a visit to the CN Tower, the world’s tallest tower and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World is a must.
- Accommodations and Logistics
The Sheraton Centre Toronto is an ideal base of operations and bed in the city. Equally, the Strathcona Hotel offers a boutique ambiance with personable service at very attractive rates from its downtown location near the VIA rail and TTC metro stations.
If You Go:
Casa Loma (www.casaloma.org)
Church Wellesley Village (www.churchwellesleyvillage.ca)
CN Tower (www.cntower.ca)
Hilton Toronto (www.toronto.hilton.com)
Fairmont Royal York (www.fairmont.com)
The Fly (www.flynightclub.com)
Pride Toronto (www.pridetoronto.com)
Royal Ontario Museum (www.rom.on.ca)
Sheraton Centre Toronto (www.sheratontoronto.com)
Strathcona Hotel (www.thestrathconahotel.com)
Toronto Transit Commission, the TTC (www.ttc.ca)
Toronto PATH, the underground city (www.toronto.ca/path/)
Woody’s and Sailor (www.woodystoronto.com)
International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (www.iglta.org)