Gay Vacations in Toronto, Canada

Skyline at night in Toronto, Canada
Toronto, Canada (Jeremy Woodhouse/Photodisc/Getty)

Toronto Highlights

  • See a Broadway-style show. Toronto is reputed to have the second-largest theater scene in North America after New York City. Buy discounted day-of show tickets at T.O. Tix, located at Yonge-Dundas Square.
  • Tie the knot. Toronto is home to North America's first fully recognized same-sex marriage. The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto is a favorite spot to tie the knot. There are no citizenship or residency requirements when applying for a marriage license in Ontario.

Toronto is Canada's New York—hefty, large, and important—but arguably a lot lighter and more civilized than its American cousin. One of the most multicultural cities in North America, it feels like the whole world ended up here, making for an eclectic and exciting vibe, not to mention excellent dining (over 7,000 restaurants!) and thriving ethnic neighborhoods.

Toronto has the second-largest theater scene on the continent, and although the gay scene is a bit more austere than more laid-back Montreal, it's still just as gosh-darn friendly. The main gayborhood is the Church Wellesley Village, which traces roots to 1826 when gay magistrate and merchant Alexander Wood bought the land, called "Molly Wood’s Bush" forever thereafter. (You may recognize it from Queer As Folk, which was shot here.) In recent years, new areas like the Gay West Village in Parkdale and "Queer Street West"—as a section of Queen Street West is now dubbed—have blossomed into queer maturity. There’s a fairly good women’s scene compared to other cities, and Toronto proudly hosts one of the largest June pride festivals on Earth, with more than 800,000 gallivanting along Church Street.

Perched alongside Lake Ontario, Toronto is pancake-flat, but that doesn't mean it's ugly. Take a ferry to Hanlan’s Point Beach, located on the Toronto Islands lying just offshore from downtown and where gay men frolic nude. Other outdoor pursuits include picnicking, biking, or roller-blading around Harbourfront Centre. There you'll find the Power Plant contemporary art gallery, the Du Maurier Theatre Centre, a large craft studio with artisans at work, and the Artists' Gardens created by landscape architects, designers, and other artists. Explore the city’s stunning Victorian and Edwardian buildings around the University of Toronto campus, or go shopping at the luxe boutiques in Yorkville—what was once Toronto's Haight-Ashbury. There’s also a happening Chinatown, a Greek Town, a Little Italy—who needs to travel the world when it’s all in Toronto?

Published: 16 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 6 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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