Happy New Year Toronto

Half of Canada’s gays live in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal

On a recent business trip, a new world grabbed me by surprise. I didn’t know what to expect of the city’s gay scene but I knew I wanted to explore it.

Within the bustling metropolis I found a fetish night happening at one of the city’s three gay clubs. Artsy lesbians and bourgeois gay men strolled the streets and were in full attendance at the dance theatres and music shows. The Andy Warhol exhibit was showing at the city’s art gallery. Culture, art, culture. I left the city feeling happy and gay, refreshed after my two weeks in Winnipeg.

You read it right — The Peg. (okay, maybe bustling metropolis is a bit of an overstatement). Sometimes referred to as “Winterpeg” and home of the legendary most-freezing-street-corner of Portage and Main, Winnipeg has a gay community that is anything but cold.

Half of Canada’s same-sex couples live in just three fabulous cities: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, according to Statistics Canada, 2007. Now, using StatsCan’s flawed data on a flawed metric can only generate results of a limited use, but it’s the best data that’s available at the moment. And — what’s more frightening — considering that the gays-against-marriage backlash started in urban centres, it’s at least possible that our best guesses actually underestimate the number of gays that live in the big three.

The Mado drag shows of Montreal are pure gay entertainment one could not find elsewhere. The unending queer parade of Toronto Pride can’t be matched. And Vancouver’s West End is about as great as a gay village can get — anywhere in the world.

But Canada is big. Very big. And believe it or not, Canadian queer life beyond the major cities is thriving.

Because of the vast size of our nation, Canada’s homo density is far less concentrated than, say, the Greek island of Lesbos (er, for instance). Our land is vast, and so is the distribution of the gay population.

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