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Church and Wellesley: The Mecca of the Gay Community

Church and Wellesley a.ka. Gay Village welcomes both LGBT and non-LGBT residents. Mid-to upper class young professionals flock to this area because it offers easy access to all downtown Toronto has to offer. To know more about this place, let’s start with its history.

History
Alexander Wood started as a merchant. Then he was appointed as a civil officer in Upper Canada. Because he was accused of sexually abusing crime suspects, he was forced to leave Canada. People tagged Wood with the nickname ‘Molly Wood’ based on the degrading word ‘Molly’, an expression referring to a queer man. They also taunted his lands as ‘Molly Wood’s Bush’. Since then, many activists protested, so people can look at homosexuality in a positive light. These efforts gradually paved the way to Toronto’s own gay culture. These days, a statue of Wood stands on Church St., commemorating him as a pioneer of gay community.Gay Village hosts these three fun festivals promoting Canada’s diversity.

Annual Events/Festivals

Music in the Park
The Music in the Park concert series takes place 5 days a week in Barbara Hall Park- Oval Stage usually from the first week of July to last week of September. During the Village’s summer-long music festival, everyone enjoys Toronto’s best instrumental and vocal talent. The event is completely free.

Pumpkins in the Park
Pumpkins in the Park is usually held on October 27th. While participants are transforming their own pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern masterpiece, Toronto’s finest Drag Queens entertain the crowds. All materials are free of charge. The host also screens Halloween classic films to add fun in the festival.

Halloween on Church
Halloween on Church is Toronto’s biggest Halloween block party. Many people enjoy the Halloween spirit as they fill the streets with their weird, wonderful, eccentric, creative, and fabulous costumes. Many of the local businesses show their support by having special events or menus within their shops or restaurants/bars.Aside from yearly events, this neigbourhood also offers many recreational places.

Recreational Places

519 Church Street Community Centre or ‘The 519’
The ‘519’ was built as a welcoming space for the LGBTQ society. It has wonderful programs like anti-violence, homelessness, counselling, and advice for everyone. It also offers holiday parties and memorial services.

Mattamy Athletic Centre
Ryerson University preserved and renewed Mattamy Athletic Centre, a facility for volleyball, baseball, hockey and other sports.

Gallery Arcturus
Gallery Arcturus, a non-profit contemporary art exhibition and art education centre, features 5 different galleries.You haven’t experienced the Gay Village if you haven’t experienced the nightlife. These are the places to hangout during the night.

Bars

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
This is for bold gay & lesbian theatrical expression that doubles as a vibrant bar & nightclub.

Shisha&Co
It’s a laid-back place for smoking shisha, with a menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads, juices & teas. Good location to meet with friends and they have good selection of shisha.

Crews & Tangos
This is a gay and lesbian drag bar with 2 dance floors featuring amazing live performances by the drag queens.

Pegasus Bar
Colorful martinis lure locals to this gay bar for trivia nights and games like billiards, darts, and ping pong. Bartenders and customers are friendly and accommodating.

Living in Church Wellesley Village can be an amazing experience whether you’re a male, female, or LGBT.