contact April 19th, 2014
As the largest city in Canada, you would definitely expect that there’d be a gay scene in Toronto. You’re right. The gay scene in Toronto is called The Village, or Church Street. It’s located along Church and Yonge between Alexander and Wellesley, and the Wellesley subway stop.
In the Village, a great kickoff would be to start at Woody’s, a massive complex of bars that is one of the most popular hangouts in the city for many years. (Many scenes from Queer as Folk were filmed here.) Next, check out Babylon Martini and Musique Boutique. Babylon has over 250 types of martinis! Pimblett’s Pub is a cozy joint, and is the oldest gay bar in Toronto. The Volcano Room is a new spot that has become insanely popular. Zipperz is a traditional piano bar, as is Trax 5. El Convento Rico pulls in the Latino crowd, while Ciao Edie is a funky retro bar. Pegasus Bar is an all time favorite, with video games, pool tables and the largest projection TV in Toronto. Remington’s is the place everyone goes to watch cute go-go boys disrobe. Lesbians hang out at Slack Alice, Pope Joan, and The House of Parlaiment Pub. The leather crowd favors The Black Eagle, The Toolbox, and The Barn and Stables.
You’ll also find that another area, called the Queer West Village, has grow in the West Toronto suburbs. It’s a conglomeration of communities where gays are completely and seamlessly integrated into a mixed district. A more tolerant mindset than most others anywhere, there is no discrimination based on sexual identity. You don’t go out there to party. If you’re looking party, go to the Village. You go to Queer West Village for mingling with gay rights and community related issues.
In the summer, you can get an all-over tan at Hanlans Point Beach on Toronto Island, or closer to town on Scarborough Beach.
When Gay Toronto needs to get its dance on, it heads to Fly. This is the big dance club you’ll recognize from Queer as Folk. On Saturdays, it thumps until well after sunrise. 5ive is more upscale and chic. Lust is where people head to on Fridays. On other nights it’s mostly mixed.
For restaurants, go to Zelda’s, an American/Mexican/Italian eatery. It’s massively popular during Sunday brunch, and its bar is one of the biggest gathering places for gay Toronto. Less tread establishments are: Tantra, the V3 Lounge, PJ Mellons, and Byzantium. For a quieter bar scene, head to Living Well, which has been a favorite with the gay community forever. The Looking Glass is another fave, with its four fireplaces and pan-cultural menu. The Village Rainbow is a Village standard establishment. Fire on the East Side’s Southern-inspired menu will not only pique your interest but it’ll also do the same to your tastebuds.
Toronto has several gay B&Bs. A few of these bed and breakfast places are located right smack in the middle of the Village: The Dundonald House, a charming guesthouse owned by legally-married gay couple Warren and Dave; Cawthra Square, a collection of three upscale B&Bs all side by side to each other, and the recipient of several gay travel awards; The Banting House, an Edwardian residence whose guests rave about it’s central location as well as its marvelous gardens. Bears and leather fans can bed down at The Bearfoot Inn. If you’re searching for a transvestite-friendly place, slide on over to the Wildside Hotel. Other unique, gay-owned properties in the immediate area are The Toronto Townehouse, B R Guest, the Toronto Downtown B&B (a luxury B&B), A Seaton Dream, the Lavender Rose, the House on McGill, and the Burwood Inn.
Pride Toronto is Canada’s largest gay event, and takes place in late June. Folsom Fair North is an extension of San Francisco’s famed leather celebration. It takes place in mid-July. [source]