Toronto's Gay Village, or Gaybourhood, is Church and Wellesley. The best gay bars in town and one of Canada's top gay pride parades are located in the area from Yonge to Jarvis, and Gerrard to Charles. In addition to being the primary LGBTQ community in Toronto, Church and Wellesley is a neighbourhood dating back to 19th century, with plenty of Victorian houses and apartments that give the area a historic charm.
Many members of Toronto's LGBTQ community of all ages and walks of life, as well as some families, couples and singles who aren't LGBTQ.
Young, middle-aged and older LGBTQ people who want to be among their peers, as well as people who love being in a neighbourhood that has a vibrant culture that's noticeable everywhere you look. Students will love the nightlife and the proximity to Ryerson University here, as well as the deals that can be found on rentals.
People who aren't cool with the LGBTQ lifestyle – Church and Wellesley just isn't the place for you.
Year-round, Church and Wellesley gives off a super cool vibe, flaunting its unique culture and residents in the shops, bars and streets of this downtown-ish neighbourhood. But the neighbourhood really comes alive for the last week in June of every year for Pride Week, which culminates in the annual Pride Parade on the last weekend of the month. There's also an annual Dyke March that same weekend. Nightlife in Church and Wellesley is concentrated along Church Street, where most of the gay bars pump and strobe until the wee hours, and as can be expected, the community lights up after dark, no matter if it's a weekend or a weeknight. Also around the intersection of Church and Wellesley Streets are endless clothing stores and other shops, cafes, bistros, restaurants, lounges and galleries.
While many will say that Church and Wellesley has become unaffordable for renters, the truth is that the neighbourhood's rental rates are now on par with the downtown average, which is, honestly, very expensive. Due to the charm and popularity of this neighbourhood, demand is pushing rents even higher and has had a hand in shoving away some independent businesses, which haven't been able to pay the bills.
Avg. rent compared to other Toronto neighbourhoods
Church and Wellesley is 1% lower than TO average
Condos, apartments and still quite a few charming Victorian houses
Several decades ago, Church and Wellesley established itself as a haven for Toronto's LGBTQ community because of negative reactions the community received elsewhere in the city. At the time, Church and Wellesley was like a safe haven; however, times have changed and with more open attitudes toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer lifestyles, people who identify with these communities have begun to find places to call home all around the city, rather than concentrating in just the one area. Rising rents have also pushed younger residents out of the area.
Church Street is the centre of life in Church and Wellesley – this is where all the bars and cafes are situated, and the patios along Church make for prime people-watching real estate. This is one of the few neighbourhoods in Toronto that actually has a cool community centre, called the 519, offering services that go beyond the average community centre's programming. There's also the AIDS Memorial in Barbara Hall Park, which has plaques containing names of community members who have died of AIDS-related illnesses. When it comes to the gay bar scene, each will have his or her own favourites, although chart-toppers include Woody's, Crews and Tangos for drag shows, Buddies in Bad Times, Church on Church and the very kinky Black Eagle.