2 min

Bringing ‘impact’ to Church St

Minor delays as neighbourhood association prepares for WorldPride

The 2012 budget includes money for new 22-foot rainbow gateway markers to welcome visitors to the Village. Credit: (Artist design courtesy of CWVBIA)
The installation of two swirling rainbow gateway markers at either end of Church St has been delayed due to drilling problems, says the spokesperson for the area business association.
David Wootton, of the Church Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), says the city’s public utilities department has raised concerns about the difficulty of digging under the sidewalk to install the 22-foot signpost markers, which are part of the BIA’s Village revitalization plan. 
“What we found out was that there is a Bell conduit line running all the way down Church St from Maitland to Carlton streets,” Wootton says. “We were about six inches away from the depth that we wanted, so it kind of put a hold on everything. It was finally resolved about a month ago.”
At one point, Wootton says, the BIA was considering relocating the south marker.
“So that really threw everything behind schedule,” he says. “Our deadline was supposed to be for August, and that would have been the big reveal, but now they are telling us the end of October. So we will try and do the unveiling before the holidays.”
The BIA saved money over three years to purchase the markers, and the funds are listed in its 2012 budget summary. The cost for both markers is $87,500.
Looking ahead to WorldPride 2014, Wootton says Church St needs “impact.”
Meanwhile, the BIA is teaming up with Steamworks to shut down Church St for a party to raise funds for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation on July 15. 
The street will be closed south of Wellesley to Alexander for a car wash and a tea dance, which will run from 5pm to 10pm, Wootton says.
“We hope to have patios on the street, a sidewalk sale, DJs playing music all day,” he says. “Tea dances were really popular in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s really just a good reason to dance, get drunk and have fun on the street.”
On Sept 15, the BIA will partner with the 519 Church St Community Centre and the Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce for a Village Fair.
“They will be hosting a business expo in the park,” Wootton says.
The street will close north of Wellesley to Gloucester for extended patios and a sidewalk sale, he says.
The funding for these new events is being taken out of funds that would have gone to the Fetish Fair, which was cancelled earlier this year.
“We hope these new events keep a more visible presence on the street, a place for people to be here and be queer,” Wootton says. “So far there’s been good response from the businesses on Church St.”