Finally, there’s a way to get drunk and raise money for an LGBT community centre.
The 519, Toronto’s LGBT community centre, is kicking off its new pub series just in time for St Patrick’s Day.
“The 519 grand ballroom will transform into a decidedly queer Irish pub, complete with pub-appropriate decor and food, a whiskey bar and giveaways,” according to a release on the 519’s website.
There will also be live music, with Irish band Ugly Horse and fiddlers Sammy V and Ticky Ty taking the stage.
“The Firefly pub is a new concept that we’ve come up with. The idea was to create an inclusive community engagement opportunity and to raise some funds for The 519 and have a really fun event,” says John R Farrell, director of philanthropy for The 519. “St Patrick’s Day seemed like a very pivotal day in which to launch our pub event.”
There’s also a symbolic element to the choice of date.
St Patrick’s Day hasn’t always been queer-friendly, Farrell adds, noting that LGBT people were barred from participating in New York City’s official St Patrick’s parade as recently as last year.
”We wanted to conceive an event that is fun and welcoming for everyone,” he says.
“The 519 operates a host of programs and services,” says Farrell, who primarily oversees The 519’s fundraising initiatives. Supporting LGBT refugees, newcomers, seniors and parents are just some of the services that benefit from support.
“A lot of our work is externally facing. We do a lot of education and training work to advance issues of diversity and inclusion,” he says.