Got an itch to travel more? Here are some of the most LGBTQ-friendly neighbourhoods from coast to coast…
When it comes to being one of the world’s most LGBTQ-friendly countries, Canada gets top marks. According to a report published this past spring by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, out of 141 countries, Canada’s LGBT Global Acceptance Index (GAI) score – which measures the relative level of social acceptance of LGBT people and rights in each country – is in the top 20.
In celebration of Canada’s 151st birthday, here are some of the most LGBTQ-friendly neighbourhoods from coast to coast.
TORONTO: THE VILLAGE
toric hub of Toronto’s LGBTQ community and host to the city’s annual Pride celebrations. With its pulse at the intersection of Church and Wellesley Streets, when you’re in the Village, the welcome mat is always out.
Sleep: The Anndore House
Just steps away from the Village, The Anndore House is redefining Toronto’s boutique hotel experience. Once a favourite destination for stars including Tony Bennett and Eartha Kitt, this hotel is the definition of chic.
Eat: Fabarnak Community Cafe
A social enterprise and initiative of The 519, a community centre committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ community, Fabarnak provides people with employment barriers the opportunity to work alongside professional chefs and front-of-house staff. And the food is really good, too.
Play: Boutique Bar
One of the best cocktail bars in Toronto, Boutique Bar is located in the heart of the Village and features a beautiful front patio facing Church Street. Sip, sit back and enjoy the view.
MONTREAL: LE VILLAGE
Le Village (aka the Village) is Montreal’s big gay heart and one of the largest gay villages in North America. Saint-Catherine Street turns into a pedestrian-only area during the summer months making it the life of the party day or night.
Sleep: Gouverneur Hotel Montreal
This four-star hotel in Montreal’s gay village is only blocks away from downtown and Old Montreal. So basically, it’s right in the middle of all the action. Book a room and explore all that the city has to offer.
A Haitian rum bar and restaurant owned by Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, two members of Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire, this space has that cool factor. Haitian food, Haitian vibes and rum cocktails…what’s not to love?
Play: Cabaret Mado
No visit to the Village is complete without making a stop at Cabaret Mado, home to Mado Lamotte – Montreal’s most famous drag queen whose reign has spanned more than thirty years. Cabaret Mado is where kitschy meets fabulous.
VANCOUVER: DAVIE VILLAGE
Davie Village is the gathering place for Vancouver’s LGBTQ community. Home to Canada’s first and only permanent rainbow crosswalk, in Davie Village the rainbow flag colours are proudly on display 365 days a year.
Sleep: The Burrard Hotel
Located within walking distance of Davie Street, The Burrard Hotel is one of the hippest hotels on the West Coast. Retro-chic décor, a courtyard lounge and free bike rentals make staying here a no-brainer.
Eat: La Brasserie
A Davie Street gem, La Brasserie is a Franco-German restaurant that doesn’t disappoint. If it’s comfort food you’re craving, La Brasserie is sure to satisfy. The weekend brunch is worth checking out, but arrive early to avoid the crowds.
Night owls flock to XY, a popular gay bar and lounge in the heart of Davie Village. Featuring live performances and guest DJs, this is one of Vancouver’s hottest nightclubs. So strap on your dancing shoes and get ready to party.
It’s a beautiful day in the gaybourhood so start exploring.
JUMOL ROYES is a Toronto-based writer/PR & communications strategist with a keen interest in personal development and transformation. Follow him on Twitter @Jumol.