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2 min

Archives looking ahead to new space

But still hoping to raise almost $2 million

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) is hoping to begin its move to new quarters in April, but still wants to raise almost $2 million.

“Our plan, which is always subject to change, is to have the move underway over the next couple of months, in April and May,” says Robert Windrum, the general manager of CLGA. “Ideally we would have an opening sometime in the fall. The key element is reinforcement of half of the ground floor to accommodate the library. The engineer’s doing the drawing now. That should be done in the next month and a half.”

CLGA will be moving into a house at 34 Isabella St that was donated by the Children’s Aid Society in 2006. Windrum says CLGA will be moving its library, rare book, photography, moving image and poster collections as well as the administration offices. Collections of periodicals, artifacts and the papers of individuals or organizations will stay in the current space at 65 Wellesley St E.

“As we received the house, apart from reinforcement, we could have moved in,” says Windrum. “We were very lucky. Electrically we were fine, structurally we were fine, the roof was fine. We’ll be able to occupy it. There’ll probably be some renovations and cosmetic things over the next six to eight months while we’re in there.”

Windrum says the renovations to the house are expected to cost about $500,000, of which he says about a third has been raised. CLGA is also looking to raise an additional $1.5 million over the next five years to provide an ongoing endowment. He says the CLGA will be launching a new fundraising campaign shortly.

CLGA is also looking for volunteers, Windrum says. He says the CLGA gets a lot of volunteers interested in researching and classifying materials donated to the archives, but far fewer with expertise on the business and financial side.

“In addition to requiring financial resources we require human resources as well – fundraising, outreach, all the activities of the archive,” he says.

Windrum says CLGA has also received several significant donations of materials in time for the move. He says that Egale Canada gave a truckload of material which is already stored in the basement of the Isabella house, awaiting sorting.

“It really documents 25 years of same-sex marriage, education and equality struggles,” he says.

He also says CLGA has inherited the archives of the Canadian HIV/ AIDS Information Centre (CHIC) in Ottawa. CHIC has been taken over by the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE).

“It’s huge,” says Windrum. “CATIE is storing it for a year until we can deal with it. It will stay as one complete collection. It’s all catalogued and described. It documents the whole Canadian response to AIDS. There’s not a great deal of medical information but what we really want is the social and community side.”

Windrum says neither collection will be open to the public for at least a year.

He says CLGA also recently received a gift from the Canadian ambassador in Prague of a CD recording and catalogue of queer filmmakers and artists John Greyson and David Wall’s opera Fig Trees. The items had been received by the ambassador when he hosted a dinner for Canadian artists in Prague.

“I was interested to learn the ambassador is gay,” says Windrum.

Gay former boxer and Olympic gold medalist Mark Leduc also recently donated his 1993 Canadian Professional Boxing Council super-lightweight championship belt to CLGA. Leduc came out after his retirement from boxing in 1994.