Canada tops the world in acceptance and in Pride tourism—especially during the summer months. In a country that made same-sex marriage legal more than a decade ago, competition is steep for the title of LGBTQ2S+ friendliest spot.
1. Charlottetown, P.E.I.
The birthplace of Confederation is also home to one of the East Coast’s earliest Pride celebrations, with a parade taking place in Charlottetown in 1994. The P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association has 50 members in a province with a population of about 150,000. “This is a place where people can show who they truly are, and are able to be who they are meant to be,” says association co-chair Suellen Clow-Munro of The Holman Grand Hotel. I’ve never heard it put better.
2. Toronto, Ontario
Montreal may be chic, but Toronto’s bigger. And, for the past decade or more, LGBTQ2S+ influence has migrated from the Gay Village on Church Street across the city, to bars such as The Beaver on Queen Street West, to the annual Inside Out film festival at the spectacular TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street and the Prism electronic music festival every June in the Entertainment District. Frankly, there’s very little that’s not LGBTQ2S+ related in this city. Pride celebrations take place throughout June.
3. Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver takes intersectionality seriously and is the best place in the world to get in touch with the “2S” (for “two-spirit,” encompassing Indigenous approaches to gender and sexuality) in LGBTQ2S+. For those interested in the city’s history, Forbidden Vancouver hosts a three-hour history tour from April to October—highlights include the sites of kiss-ins and monuments. Pride runs this year from July 29 to Aug. 5, and the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival is held nearby every January.
4. Montreal, Quebec
A year-round rainbow, made up of strings of coloured balls hung between buildings and covering Saint Catherine Street for blocks in the city’s famous Gay Village, only tells part of Montreal’s story. Not only is this city as friendly as any in Canada, it is also the capital of most things travellers are interested in. From art, music, cafés and fashion, to theatre, clubs, and people-watching, come on, where else would you go?
[This story appears in the May 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]
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