The city of Toronto is an incredibly diverse city. Its streets are decorated with an eclectic mix of architectural styles, is full of parks perfect for Sunday morning meandering, and is a certified foodie destination with a variety of unique cuisines that will satiate your every craving. It’s also a living tapestry of a diverse mix of different cultures, ethnicities, and gender identities that blend beautifully together. Home to the warmest and most forward-thinking people, inviting queer spaces, and the most significant pride events in the world, this vibrant city deserves a spot in the world’s most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations.
In this article, we share the many reasons that make the city of Toronto LGBTQ+ friendly. Let’s delve right in!
In 2017, Nestpick included Toronto in its LGBTQ+ friendly cities globally, ranking third after other prominent progressive cities, Madrid and Amsterdam. The online real estate database said that they based their ranking according to several factors, such as the local queer dating scene’s vibrancy, LGBTQ+ nightlife, the community’s open-mindedness, history of LGBTQ+ rights, and overall safety.
Toronto is home to “The Village,” a historical neighbourhood at Church and Wellesley streets that features a melting pot of different cultures, genders, and identities. It’s an exciting LGBTQ+-friendly destination filled with local, independent, and queer-owned businesses like the Glad Day Bookshop, the first LGBTQ+ bookstore in the country and the oldest one in the world. Outside The Village, the Toronto queer community is estimated at over 350,000.
Queer West is another up and coming queer-centric neighbourhood that makes Toronto LGBTQ+ friendly. Like in The Village, it’s thriving with queer-owned establishments, like bars, cafes, art galleries, and restaurants. Situated between Trinity Bellwoods Park and Roncesvalles Avenue, Queer West has become a nurturing space for artistic individuals and hosts its own annual queer film festival.
Toronto is the headquarters of CIRR-FM, more popularly known as Proud FM 103.9, Canada’s first-ever LGBTQ+-friendly radio station. It was first launched in 2007 and is owned and operated by a Canadian broadcaster, Evanov Radio Group and follows a contemporary radio format. In an article by Toronto Star, Proud FM 103.9 is billed to be the world’s first commercially licensed radio station to specifically target the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities.
Toronto’s LGBTQ+-friendly badge is supported by its successful pride festivals every year. Organized by Pride Toronto, a non-profit organization, it is recognized as one of the biggest Pride celebrations worldwide. The month-long festivity features the Dyke March, Trans March, and the Pride Parade as the grand finale. According to Culture Trip, Pride Toronto is hailed as one of the largest cultural festivals in North America, closing off 22 city blocks to traffic and attended by tens and thousands of members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community.
Toronto hosted World Pride in 2014, cementing the city as an international LGBTQ+ destination. Countless people from all over the world travelled to the city to join the celebration of diversity, inclusivity, and gender identity and immerse themselves in the unique queer culture this part of Canada has to offer.
The 519 is a non-profit organization co-founded by the City of Toronto and a local charitable institution in 1975. The city-run agency was established with the goal of providing a safe and inclusive environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community in Toronto. However, it has done more than that over the years.
The 519 continues to proudly serve its mission,“The 519 is committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ community. A City of Toronto agency with an innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership, we strive to make a real difference in people’s lives while working to promote inclusion, understanding and respect.”
Notable examples of valuable queer programs spearheaded by The 519 include:
In 2019, Toronto was recognized by The Economist Intelligence Unit as the safest city in North America and the sixth safest city in the world, trailing behind Tokyo, Singapore, Amsterdam, and Sydney. The report evaluated digital safety, infrastructure, health, and personal safety as they surveyed 60 countries from five continents.
Safety is a top priority for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Whether socially or medically, transitioning is a bold and brave step that grants the individual the freedom to express their true gender identity. Toronto’s LGBTQ+ friendly citizens and queer spaces make a kinder environment for transitioning. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for other queer folks who find their lives on the line as they transition in different parts of the world.
As one of Canada’s leading cities, it’s no surprise that Toronto is at the forefront of developing and implementing LGBTQ+ rights. In Ontario, the city of Toronto officially started marrying same-sex couples in 2014. Toronto’s first Pride Committee was formed in 1986, and in the same year, sexual orientation was included in Ontario’s Human Rights Code, based on the historical timeline of the city’s LGBTQ+ rights.
Toronto recognizes gender-confirming procedures, also known as sex reassignment or gender-affirming surgery, as a covered benefit of OHIP, Ontario’s public health insurance system. Toronto’s LGBTQ+-friendly healthcare offers both chest and genital surgery funding, including FTM/N top surgery, chest masculinization operations, mastectomy, breast augmentation, vaginoplasty, and hysterectomy.
The city is also home to some of the best specialty surgeons in the country and Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital (WCH), the first public hospital in Canada that offers transition-related surgery.
If you plan to get your FTM/N top surgery, we say there’s no better place to get it done than near Toronto’s LGBTQ+ friendly city. Dr. Hugh McLean is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic surgery focusing on chest masculinization procedures. McLean Clinic, his private practice, is located in Mississauga and is less than an hour away from the city of Toronto.
To learn more about what the McLean top surgery experience is like, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. A friendly member of our team will be more than happy to assist you with your inquiries.