The year was 1969; the setting, Toronto. A particularly rainy week had left the city’s inhabitants huddled indoors until, suddenly, the sun broke free — the federal government decriminalized homosexuality. As if in celebration, a rainbow appeared, gleaming across the city sky. But it fell to the ground with a thunderous crack, and blanketed the land just east of Yonge Street. As homosexuals sashayed en masse to investigate, it became clear:, the Church-Wellesley Village was born.
While others may subscribe to its less magical origin story, the Church-Wellesley Village is nonetheless synonymous with Toronto queer culture.
The ever-changing area is a haven for many of the city’s LGBT folk — it’s full of personality, and a seemingly endless amount of dogs being walked. And in true Toronto fashion, ambitious new property developments are always popping up, the newest being 179 suites at Eighty One Wellesley overlooking the heart of Church-Wellesley. In the Village, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is more than just an anthem — it’s right outside your balcony.
And while the Toronto’s rainbow playground is home to many, it’s also a top queer destination for many out-of-towners. Villagers are no stranger to playing host.
Each year, throngs of glitter-clad revelers flood the Village during Toronto’s annual Pride festival, which is the largest in North America. The area played host to WorldPride 2014, and will act as base camp for Toronto’s first ever Pride Month in 2016.
It’s worth noting that Pride isn’t the only time Church-Wellesley sees an influx of people. Gay Christmas — more commonly known as Halloween — lasts a week in the Village. The local drag queens, masters of transformation, don’t take much convincing to get into costume. Bars and nightclubs host an array of scream-themed events throughout the week leading up to Halloween. The events culminate on Oct 31, when costumed Torontonians fill Church Street for the night.
But the Village isn’t without its charms throughout the rest of the year. Church Street is littered with clubs and pubs, each with their distinct appeal. A quick glance at the Village directory shows no shortage of patios to lounge on. And the area’s vibrant nightlife scene offers a healthy stream of people flowing through the streets, with a drag show never far away.
For the utilitarian, the area is adjacent to both of Toronto’s major subway lines, making the rest of the city easily accessible. And shopping options are bountiful, with high-end shops on Bloor bordering the north and the bustling Eaton Centre just a quick walk south.
For those interested in moving to the Church-Wellesley area, there are plenty of options, including upcoming modern living at Eight One Wellesley. The 28-storey building has been designed by Aragon and CORE Architects specifically to compliment the Church-Wellesley area’s aesthetic, with community building and engagement in mind. More information is available when you register online.