Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America and is the most populous city in Canada. Located on the shores of the immense Lake Ontario, it could almost be described as “sea” with its length of more than 300 kilometers. From the CN Tower, the city’s landmark, the view is particularly impressive on the sunniest days. Toronto is a very cosmopolitan and multicultural city, populated by new waves of immigrants into the country. The population is very tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community, as it is throughout Canada. Its gay district is located in the city centre between Church Street and Wellesley Street.
The population of Toronto, including its urban area, is just over 7 million. Often called the little New York with its ultra-urbanized downtown and its many skyscrapers, Toronto is often selected for the filming of many American movies and series to create the illusion that you are on the US side. The city is a very important financial and cultural centre. The gay district is located at the intersection of Church Street and Wellesley Street (Wellesley metro stop) and this is where you can find most of the city’s LGBTQ+ establishments. In the gay hit series Queer as Folk, Pittsburgh’s famous Liberty Avenue is actually Toronto’s Church Street. It was in the 1960s that the LGBTQ+ community established itself in the neighbourhood and still makes it vibrant today.
Toronto, like most major Canadian and American cities, is a very recent city, and only started to develop in the 19th century (9000 inhabitants in 1834 when it was founded). The new immigrants from Europe and other parts of the world who gradually began to populate it were primarily looking for work, an openness of mind and the promise of a quiet life. Today, this is clearly visible with cosmopolitan residents who are extremely tolerant and forward-thinking towards the LGBTQ+ community.
As the world’s second country to legalise marriage for same-sex couples in 2005, Canada is demonstrating a great advance in protecting LGBTQ+ people. The country is regularly at the forefront of the international defence of minority rights. Adoption by gay couples has been legalized for many years. Gender reassignment is allowed in Canada and the government is working to smooth out any notion of gender (e.g. by including “non-binary”) in legal documents.
The local currency is the Canadian dollar, not to be confused with the American dollar. For 1€ you get about 1,50$CAD.
The tourist visa is valid for a maximum of 6 months, but this remains at the customs officer’s discretion following a strict control on arrival. European countries are visa-free, but it is nevertheless mandatory before your departure to apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) which costs 7$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.
Woody’s & Sailor(467 Church Street). A must-see bar in Toronto with a wide variety of events. For the older among us, Woody’s is also very well known because it’s the place where the hit LGBTQ+ series Queer As Folk (US version) was filmed.
Boutique Bar (506 Church Street). Popular bar in Toronto where you can also eat. Nice terrace, excellent cocktails and beautiful decoration.
Black Eagle (457 Church Street). Bar with a popular “leather” atmosphere in several spaces. You can simply have a drink or enjoy the fetish cruising area.
Crews & Tangos (508 Church Street). Gay bar in Toronto with drag shows and a great atmosphere.
O’Grady’s Bar & Restaurant On Church (518 Church Street). It’s a restaurant with a bar area and a great location to watch the passers-by.
The Drink(459 Church Street – 2nd floor). Bar with a working room atmosphere during the day. Ideal for 5 to 7. Evening shows.
Pegasus Bar (489B Church Street). One of the oldest gay bars in Toronto with the decor to match. Great staff. Billiards, table tennis and various games on site.
The Lodge (518a Church Street). Small bar-restaurant with a very efficient staff. It is possible to privatize the place for your parties.
Church Street Garage Bar (477 Church Street). Gay bar-restaurant with terrace on street corner. Nice atmosphere and very busy.
Flash on Church (463 Church Street). Toronto’s largest naked dancers’ bar on 2 floors.
The Church Mouse – A Firkin Pub (475 Church Street). British style brewery with a bar area. Ideal for the early evening.
Hair Of The Dog Neighbourhood Pub & Restaurant(425 Church Street). Gay-friendly pub and restaurant with an outdoor patio.
A little east of the Church – Wellesley gay district, towards the Studio District
Wayla Bar & Lounge (996 Queen Street East). Gay-friendly neighbourhood bar with regular DJ nights and a great atmosphere.
El Convento Rico (750 College Street). Located in the west of the city centre, it’ a gay Latino club that is very popular with the LGBTQ+ clientele and also offers drag shows.
The gay clubs Fly 2.0 on Gloucester Street and Club 120 Church Street are now closed after many years of work.
Gay Cruising Club in Toronto
Already listed in the “bars” category, the Black Eagle on Church Street has a cruising area.
Gay Saunas in Toronto
Steamworks Baths (540 Church Street). Great sauna in the heart of Toronto’s gay district. Clean, well equipped with gym and jacuzzi.
Spa Excess (105 Carlton Street). Sauna very close to the LGBTQ+ area with several spaces, terrace, pool area and bar.
Splash Steam & Sauna (1610 Dundas Street West). Gay Sauna in the West End, more mature and local clientele.
Adonis Spa(245 Gerrard Street East). Gay massage therapy centre in Toronto.
The most used dating apps are Grindr and Scruff.
Video source: You Tube – Destination Toronto Official – December 18, 2020.