Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Sunny side of the street

1977
The late Janko Naglic purchases La Cavalier at Church and Granby, turning it into a gay bar, eventually called The Stables And Barn; it hosts underwear and naked parties.

1984
The Churwell Centre (now called the Village Centre) opens on the south-west corner of Church and Wellesley, unleashing the Second Cup and The Steps onto the world.

1989
Woody’s opens where Jingles, a not-particularly-gay piano bar, had been; the Sailor annex opens in ’94.

1990
Bar 501 opens; with its big windows, it was one of the first places on the strip where the focus was on seeing and being seen. The Spa On Maitland opens, taking over the premises occupied by Wellesley Fitness.

1997
The bar at 457 Church St becomes the Black Eagle after incarnations as (in reverse chronological order) The Bulldog, Tanks, The 457, Gayboy Publishing (which published Two magazine in the 1960s) and The Melody Room. The Black Eagle had been in the spot now occupied by Papi’s Lounge.

1998
Tango, a Gloucester St lesbian space later occupied by Fly nightclub, moves to shared Church St accommodations with Crews, making it the first female-oriented venue on the strip.

1999
Maple Leaf Gardens hosts its last hockey game and is put up for sale. The Bijou porn theatre and bar is repeatedly raided; 18 men are charged, though the Crown says most of the charges are withdrawn; the bar becomes a bathhouse.

2000
Zelda’s moves to Church St from Wellesley, taking over the spot occupied by Toby’s family restaurant.

2004
The Steps are bricked in. The Devon restaurant, which had been a gay hangout since at least the ’40s, closes shop; the space is eventually taken over by Mask resto-lounge.

2005
The Barn, Slack Alice and Babylon close; Il Fornello opens.