Toronto's gay village dates back to the 19th and early 20th century when part of the neighborhood was owned by merchant Alexander Wood, known to be a homosexual and who has since been honored with a statue as a forefather of Toronto's gay community. Gay businesses began moving into the area but did not concentrate around a run-down Church Street until after the 1981 Operation Soap bathhouse raids. The mass arrest of 300 men represented a turning point for Toronto's LGBT community, sparking protests, riots and solidarity that spawned Pride Week which takes over Church and Wellesley every June. Neighborhood standbys include a number of bars like Woody's, Crews & Tango, Fly and the Black Eagle, the 519 Church Street Community Center and the AIDS Memorial in Barbara Hall Park.
Church Street, Toronto, ON, Canada