The Gay Village

Toronto is home to The Gay Village, Canada’s largest LGBTQ+ community. Known by some as The Village and the Church/Wellesley Village, it’s nestled in the heart of the downtown core. The Gay Village’s core is where Church Street and Wellesley Street East meet. Church Street is the business core. Small businesses and residences are on adjoining and nearby streets.
 
The Village is packed with queer businesses. They range from strip clubs to Starbucks, from art galleries to dog parks. Hospitals, schools, spas, lawyers, accountants, dentists and physicians are within walking distance. There are steambaths, sex shops, fetish clothing stores and the occasional illegal pot shop.
 
During summer, restaurants, cafés, pubs and clubs open up their patios. Hundreds of people-watchers show up, and once night falls, Church St is full of queens, kings and queers. Yearly Pride and Hallowe’en celebrations bring out thousands of people to the street.
Residents and visitors are tolerant, so the area is a magnet for rough-and-tumble people. Prostitutes, drug addicts and homeless street kids find refuge in The Village.
 
The streets are dirty and lined with used condoms and cigarette butts. There is a weird amount of single shoes to find on lawns and in bushes. People often go missing; rarely do they even get a much as a flyer posted on a utility pole.
 
The spectre of violence hangs heavy in the air. Whether it’s street violence or institutionalized violence, the streets are mean.  Sometimes people go missing. Sometimes people die from overdoses. Sometimes they are murdered.
 
We cover only LGBTQ+ murders on this website, but there are many violent deaths in The Gay Village. 
 
The Gay Village can be a dangerous place.