Toronto, Ontario, Queen Street West, Post-Gayborhood
Toronto, Ontario, Queen Street West, Post-Gayborhood

Post-Gayborhoods: Toronto’s Queen Street West Is Wild About Art

post-gayborhoods, gayborhoods, travel, gay travelOver the past decade, the gayborhood has morphed into what’s often termed a “post-gay” neighborhood. At many LGBT-owned businesses, you’re apt to bump into plenty of straight folks as well — and vice versa. And it’s a good bet that the formerly explicitly gay neighborhoods will continue to become steadily more diverse — including the influx of the dreaded “hipster”. But if you can get beyond the sometimes precious conceits of these trendy urban districts, you’ll discover some of the best businesses and restaurants in the country.

Every day for the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at a dozen of the most dynamic and interesting post-gay neighborhoods in the United States and Canada. These aren’t necessarily the biggest or the most popular — just a good sampling of especially notable ones. 

To see all the articles in this series, click here.

Queen Street West in Toronto, Ontario

Queen West, Queen Street West, Ontario, Toronto, Canada, Post-Gayborhoods
Queen Street West in Toronto (Photo: Andrew Collins)

An indie-spirited, artistically inclined alternative to the city’s uber-queer Church Street Village, Queen Street West (aka simply Queen West) is one of several cool neighborhoods west of downtown. It consists of a long stretch of Queen Street extending west from about University Avenue and the Osgoode metro station for many blocks out beyond Trinity Bellwoods Park (a section that’s especially packed with great places to shop and eat) and Roncesvalles Avenue and the Queensway—a distance of more than 3 miles. The bohemian vibe continues north on intersecting Ossington Avenue and then east-west again on Dundas and Bloor streets.

Clafouti, Queen Street West, Queen West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Post-Gayborhoods
Clafouti in Queen Street West (Photo: Andrew Collins)

Suffice it to say, there’s much to see and do in Queen Street West and nearby offshoot districts. For drinks with liked-minded souls, stumble into Sweaty Betty’s, an eclectic cocktail bar on the Ossington Strip, and the legendary Gladstone Hotel, a diverse arts space, live-music club, restaurant, and affordable, art-themed hotel. Lula Lounge is a fave for Cuban brunch fare and Latin music, and the convivial Rhino Bar & Grill has a great beer selection.

Other options for people-watching and dining include sunny and cheerful Clafouti Patisserie & Cafe and the mod-Canadian, farm-to-table Good Son restaurant and bar.

Queen Street West, Queen West, Toronto, Ontario, Post-Gayborhoods
A Queen Street West Banner (Photo: Andrew Collins)

In August, the neighborhood hosts an LGBT arts showcase, the Toronto Queer Arts Festival.

This article is one in a series about post-gayborhoods.

(Featured image via Greg/Flickr)