Ottawa is the capital of Canada and is, therefore, the centre of the country’s federal institutions. Not being the largest city in the country, its human size makes it particularly interesting where everything can be visited on foot. Located in the province of Ontario, Ottawa is the link between the English-speaking province of Ontario and the French-speaking province of Quebec. The two are linked by a bridge that you can cross on foot, a symbol of this country with two official languages. It was in 2011 that the city designated a portion of Bank Street as a gay district. An annual Pride is held there as well as an LGBTQ+ film festival.
Ottawa has a population of just under one million. It is an interesting stopover city when traveling between Montreal in Quebec and Toronto in Ontario. You can visit the Canadian Parliament and the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada at 24 Sussex Drive. A human-sized city, you can stroll around on foot without any problem. Its gay district is located very close to Parliament Hill, on Bank Street, between Nepean and James Streets.
In 1971, a demonstration in favour of LGBTQ+ people was already held in Ottawa. Then in 1986, the first gay pride was organised, gathering about fifty people. Year after year, the event has attracted more and more people and today, “Capital Pride” is proudly celebrated every summer in Ottawa. Canada’s capital reflects the general openness of the country and can easily be described as a very gay friendly city.
Canada was the second country (after the Netherlands) to legalize gay marriage on July 20, 2005. In Quebec, gay marriage has even been legally recognized since March 19, 2004. Adoption for same-sex couples has also been legal for many years. Discrimination, whether private or professional, is severely punished. No restrictions in the military field. The federal government is continuing its action and is now tackling the ban on conversion therapies. The latter are already criminalized in a few provinces such as Ontario and Manitoba.
In Ottawa, you will use the Canadian dollar, not to be confused with the American dollar. For 1 €, you get about 1,50$CAD.
The tourist visa is valid for a maximum of 6 months, but this is at the customs officer’s discretion after a strict check on arrival. European countries are visa-free, but it is nevertheless mandatory before your departure to apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) which costs 7$CAD per person. Ask for it on the official Government of Canada website and not through a third party as they will charge you extra for the same service. Here is the link to the official government website: ETA – Canada.
Ottawa Gay Bars
The Lookout Bar (41 York Street – 2nd floor). Close to the Chateau Laurier. Popular Ottawa gay bar with drag nights.
T’s Pub(323 Somerset Street West). Bar and brasserie with a nice terrace, not too expensive, and a local clientele.
Swizzles (246B Queen Street). Small neighbourhood karaoke bar, mostly frequented by regulars.
Gay Friendly Ottawa Clubs
Babylon (317 Bank Street). Gay-friendly club with good music and special gay nights held regularly.
Mercury Lounge(56 Byward Market Square). Gay-friendly club with small band performances and weekly drag nights.
Gay Sauna Ottawa
Club Ottawa (1069 Wellington Street West). Ottawa’s only gay sauna with a local and fairly mature clientele.
Gay Ottawa Spa
Bode Spa for men (323 Chapel Street #103). Spa-like establishment for men, with massage therapy and aesthetic treatments (waxing and styling). Ideal to relax and take care of yourself. Please note that this is not a cruising club.
Grindr and Scruff are the most used applications in Ottawa.
Video source: You Tube – Capital Pride Official – August 14, 2020.