As one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America and with a population approaching one million, it’s no surprise that Ottawa is a hotbed of activity for the LGBT community. With a rich array of queer-friendly shops, galleries, nightclubs and living accommodations, Ottawa has positioned itself as one of the most vibrant and diverse gay destinations in Canada.
Ottawa’s officially designated LGBT neighbourhood runs six blocks along Bank Street and is home to well-established and burgeoning businesses alike.
The Centretown Pub, which opened in 1984, is one of the neighbourhood’s mainstays and the massive gay bar boasts three separate levels. Babylon Nightclub hosts queer-friendly events every month, including Beyoncé-themed nights as well as events by Queer Mafia.
But queer nightlife in Ottawa isn’t exclusive to the Village. Chateau Laurier, is home to countless cafés, boutiques, restaurants and bars, and the exceedingly charming ByWard Market is located steps from Parliament Hill.
This historic, pedestrian-friendly market also has some of the most inclusive, LGBT-friendly bars and nightclubs in the city. The Lookout Bar hosts queer nights throughout the week in a chic environment with killer cocktails. The swank bar also has the only licensed patio in the city with a stellar view of Parliament Hill. Mercury Lounge, also located in the market, is an upscale, three-level complex serving up potent martinis and throws gay parties including Hump Wednesdays and Fresh Beaver in its basement bar.
Outside the booming walls of bars and nightclubs is a rich and thriving arts community. Its stunning Royal Alexandra Interprovincial Bridge straddles the border between Ottawa and Gatineau with the National Art Gallery and the Canadian Museum of History on each respective side.
SAW Gallery, a politically-minded contemporary arts gallery, has collaborated with queer artists coast to coast and hosts the Inside Out Ottawa LGBT Film and Video Festival.
Ottawa also has a wealth of queer-friendly accommodations. For those searching for the latest in apartment offerings in Ottawa, LIV Apartments offers both furnished and unfurnished options at competitive rates.
The apartment complex offers guests the unique choice of staying for a just few nights or booking their stay indefinitely in one of their designer suites. Each unit is equipped with stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and unbeatable views of downtown Ottawa.
The amenities at LIV include a 24-hour concierge, a rooftop gym and yoga studio as well as a rooftop terrace and lounge. It also offers a resident café, media room, business centre and a pet grooming and sitting service.
Located in the downtown Centretown West neighbourhood, LIV Apartments is walking distance to Little Italy as well as the Village and is ideal for both short-term visitors as well as travelling professionals seeking long-term accommodations.
Ottawa has earned its place as one of the top queer destinations in Canada. Whether it’s taking in a show at one of the city’s many museums and arts festivals, catching a drag performance in the Village or having dinner and drinks in the ByWard Market, the nation’s capital has got you covered.