Toronto
2 min

Raiding history

* 1969. At the International Steam Bath, police charge one man as a keeper of a bawdy house. He is found not guilty



* 1973. Four men at the International Steam Bath are arrested and charged with gross indecency. All plead not guilty



* 1977. Seven men at the International Steam Bath are charged with indecent assault on a male and performing indecent acts. The Toronto Star prints their names, ages and addresses



* 1978. Twenty-eight men are arrested at The Barracks. Five are charged as keepers of a common bawdy house, 23 as found-ins. Police use hammers and crowbars to damage the premises



* 1979. Over several months, police lay bawdy house charges against five gay homeowners who held hot tub and dungeon parties in their homes



* 1981. In a massive bust on Feb 5 at The Romans, The Barracks, Club Toronto and the Richmond Street Health Emporium, police arrest 266 found-ins and 20 alleged bawdy house keepers. There is extensive property damage with sledge hammers and crowbars and physical and verbal abuse by the police. Police out some of the found-ins to their employers



* 1981. On Feb 6, more than 3,000 people gather downtown in angry late-night protests against the bath raids. A police car’s window and headlights are broken, a streetcar’s windows are smashed, two men stand and piss on one car and fisticuffs break out. There are many claims of police brutality. Eleven people are arrested: for assaulting a police officer, damage to public property and for breaching the peace



* 1981. On Feb 15, Rev Brent Hawkes begins a hunger strike in order to force the Ontario government of Bill Davis into calling an investigation into the raids; when city council appoints one at day 25, Hawkes eats



* 1981. On Feb 20, more than 4,000 people rally at Queen’s Park and 52 Division to protest the raids and call for an inquiry. The slogan, “No more shit,” is popular



* 1981. On Apr 21, police lay charges against bath owners, including conspiracy to possess proceeds obtained by crime, keeping common bawdy houses and selling obscene matter: butt plugs, cock rings, tit clamps and the like



* 1981. On Jun 12, a provincial court judge rules on the Barracks charges from 1978. He concludes buggery, fellatio and other gay sex acts are not indecent themselves, but do violate community standards if others can see them. Three employees are found guilty of keeping a common bawdy house; the three owners were acquitted. More than 2,000 people protest the decision that night, with an altercation breaking out with the police; an officer’s hat is stolen



* 1981. On Jun 16, the police bust the Back Door Gym and the International Steam Bath and make 21 more bawdy house arrests



* 1981. On Jun 20, 2,000 demonstrators defiantly hit the streets, holding a sit-in in the middle of Yonge and Bloor streets in an act of civil disobedience. As events progress, scuffles break out with the police; a squad car is rocked, an officer’s shoulder is dislocated and people are arrested



* 1981. On Jul 10, law student and journalist Arnold Bruner is appointed by Toronto City Council to file a report on the raids



* 1981. On Sep 24, the Bruner report is released, calling for a permanent gay/police dialogue committee, an end to police entrapment and undercover surveillance of gay men, and the recognition of queers as a legitimate minority entitled to legal protection against discrimination



* 1999. This summer police repeatedly swoop into The Bijou porn theatre, laying a total of 33 charges against customers (indecency) and management for obstruction and liquor charges



* 2000. On Sep 15, male police officers spend more than an hour visiting the Pussy Palace lesbian bathhouse night at Club Toronto. Charges are laid against two organizers relating to the event’s special occasion liquor permit.