Timeline of LGBT history in Canada

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This is a timeline of notable events in the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Canada. For a broad overview of LGBT history in Canada see LGBT history in Canada.


  • 1648: A gay military drummer stationed at the French garrison in Ville-Marie, New France is sentenced to death for sodomy by the local Sulpician priests.[1] After an intervention by the Jesuits in Quebec City, the drummer's life is spared on the condition that he accept the position of New France's first permanent executioner.[1] As only the drummer was placed on trial, the widespread consensus of many historians is that his sexual partner may have been a First Nations man who was not subject to French religious law.[2] In his 2006 book Répression des homosexuels au Québec et en France, historian Patrice Corriveau identifies the drummer as "René Huguet dit Tambour",[3] although other historians have challenged this identification as no known historical records place a person of that name in New France any earlier than 1680.[4]
  • 1691: Military officer Nicolas Daussy de Saint-Michel and two commoners, Jean Forgeron dit La Rose and Jean Filliau dit Dubois, are arrested on charges of sodomy.[2] Saint-Michel, highly knowledgeable about the law, refuses to cooperate with the investigation, successfully arguing that under France's Grande ordonnance criminelle of 1670 a charge of sodomy could only be investigated by the Sovereign Council of New France rather than the local bailiwick; the case is transferred to Quebec City, where the council ultimately finds all three guilty.[5] Dubois and La Rose are sentenced to additional time in the military, while Saint-Michel is fined 200 livres and exiled back to France.[2]


  • 1810: Alexander Wood, a merchant and magistrate in Toronto, is embroiled in a sex scandal when he investigates a rape case by personally inspecting the penises of the suspected assailants for a scratch left by the woman who filed the rape charge.[6]
  • 1838: George Herchmer Markland, a member of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada, is forced to resign his seat after facing allegations of making sexual advances towards other men.[7]
  • 1842: Patrick Kelly and Samuel Moore, the first two men in Canada historically recorded as having been criminally convicted of sodomy for what the court records clearly describe as consensual sexual activity, arrive at Kingston Penitentiary.[8] Both men were sentenced to death, although their sentences are commuted on August 22; Moore is released from prison in 1849 and Kelly is released in 1853.[8]
  • 1869: Buggery is no longer punishable by death in Canada, replaced instead by a maximum punishment of life in prison.




  • In the Montreal literary magazine First Statement, John Sutherland publishes a review of the poetry of Patrick Anderson, intuiting homoerotic themes and accusing Anderson of "some sexual experience of a kind not normal".[10] Although Anderson would in fact come out as gay later in life, he was married to a woman at the time; he threatened to sue, and First Statement printed a retraction in its following issue.[10]


  • Jim Egan, a Toronto native who would later become a co-plaintiff in the landmark legal case Egan v. Canada, begins writing letters to newspapers and magazines protesting depictions of homosexuality and calling for reform of laws regarding homosexual Canadians.[11] He writes his letters until 1964, when he and his partner move to British Columbia.[11]


The RCMP, throughout the late 1950s and the entirety of the 1960s, kept tabs on homosexuals and the patrons of gay bars in Ottawa and other cities. The force also worked with the FBI's own surveillance of homosexuals and alerted the FBI when a suspected homosexual had crossed the border to the United States.


  • Jackie Shane, a rhythm and blues singer from Toronto, has a chart hit with "Any Other Way".[12] The song's lyrics include an explicit and deliberate play on the dual meaning of the word "gay". Shane, who performed in female clothing despite being male-identified at the time, would later come out as transgender, although this was not confirmed on the record by a media outlet until 2017.


  • The RCMP Directorate of Security and Intelligence's A-3 Unit (a unit dedicated to rooting out and removing all homosexuals from government and law enforcement, itself a subsection of the A Unit dedicated to finding out character flaws in government employees in the aftermath of the Second Red Scare) produced a map of Ottawa replete with red dots marking all alleged residences and frequent visitations of homosexuals. However, the map was soon filled with red ink and was disposed, and after two larger maps of the city being used to a similar purpose and outcome, the mapping soon ended.[13]


  • Canada sees its first gay-positive organization, ASK, and first gay magazines: ASK Newsletter (in Vancouver), and Gay (by Gay Publishing Company of Toronto). Gay was the first periodical to use the term 'Gay' in the title and expanded quickly, including outstripping the distribution of American publications under the name Gay International. These were quickly followed by Two (by Gayboy (later Kamp) Publishing Company of Toronto).[14][15]
  • Journalist Sidney Katz publishes "The Homosexual Next Door", one of the first articles in a mainstream Canadian publication ever to portray homosexuality in a relatively positive light, in Maclean's.[16]


  • Winter Kept Us Warm, a gay-themed independent film by David Secter, becomes the first English Canadian film to be given a screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Poet Edward A. Lacey publishes The Forms of Life, credited as the first volume of openly gay-identified poetry in Canadian literature.[17]
  • George Klippert, the last person in Canada ever to be imprisoned for homosexuality before its legalization in 1969, is arrested and charged with four counts of "gross indecency" after admitting to a police investigator that he had consensual sex with men.



  • May 14: Canada decriminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults with the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act first introduced in December 1968. It receives royal assent on June 27.
  • October 24: The first meeting of the University of Toronto Homophile Association is held.








  • The collective responsible for publication of The Body Politic formally incorporates as Pink Triangle Press.[23]
  • Maurice Richard, one of Canada's first-ever out gay male politicians, is elected mayor of Bécancour, Quebec. Contemporary biographical sources indicate that he came out as gay sometime during his term as mayor, but are not clear about what year this occurred in.
  • March 4: The "Ottawa Sex Scandal" begins when eighteen gay men, the owner and several customers of a modelling agency and dating service, are arrested and charged with sexual offences. Their names are released by police and published by the press; at least one of the men, Warren Zufelt, commits suicide on March 18 because of his outing.
  • April: The Aquarius bathhouse in Montreal is firebombed.[38] The perpetrators are never found or arrested.[38] Three customers die in the resulting fire; two of them are buried in anonymous graves because their bodies are never identified or claimed by their families.[38]
  • June: Gay Information and Resources Calgary (GIRC) was founded[39][40]
  • July 7: A Gay Caucus is formed at the national convention of the New Democratic Party, marking the first LGBT-oriented committee within a mainstream political party in Canada.
  • September 22: University of Saskatchewan graduate student Douglas Wilson is barred from working as a teaching assistant because of his participation in the gay liberation movement.



  • The Canadian film Outrageous!, starring drag queen Craig Russell, becomes one of the first gay-themed films ever to break out into mainstream theatrical release.
  • March 14: Windsor, Ontario becomes the third city in Canada to pass a motion banning discrimination against city employees on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • May 9: Barbara Thornborrow becomes the first member of the Canadian Forces to challenge a discharge from the military on the grounds of her sexuality.
  • June 2: Out of the Closets, an LGB-oriented television program, airs on the Skyline Cable and Ottawa Cable community channels in Ottawa.[43] The series is produced by Gays of Ottawa, who subsequently also launch a French language edition on the cable company in Hull.[44]
  • June 9: Two openly gay candidates, Therese Faubert of the League for Socialist Action in Brampton and Frank Lowery of the Ontario New Democratic Party in Scarborough North, are on the ballot in the 1977 Ontario provincial election.[45]
  • August: Toronto residents learn of the sexual assault and murder of the boy Emanuel Jaques by three men, resulting in media coverage which unfairly paints the entire gay community as pedophiles.
  • September 20: The television program Gay News and Views premieres.[46] Produced by Maclean-Hunter's cable community channel, the series airs on all three of Metro Toronto's major cable providers: Maclean-Hunter, Rogers and Metro Cable.[46] After the first episode Rogers backs out of airing the show on the grounds of alleged complaints about its content, although due to pressure from the LGBT community the company reinstates the program three weeks later.[44]
  • October: Two gay establishments in Montreal, Mystique and Truxx, are raided.[47] A protest organized the next day attracts 2,000 participants. By December, the province of Quebec becomes the second jurisdiction in the world, behind only Denmark, to pass a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.[47]
  • November: The Body Politic publishes Gerald Hannon's article "Men Loving Boys Loving Men", resulting in a five-year legal battle over whether the magazine was guilty of publishing "immoral, indecent or scurrilous material".[23]





  • Gay activist George Hislop runs for a seat on Toronto City Council in the 1980 municipal election.[54] He finishes third in the race for Ward 6 on November 10.
  • October 31: For the first time, a police presence protects gay spectators and drag queens from anti-gay harassment at the annual Hallowe'en show at Toronto's St. Charles Tavern.
  • December: At the last caretaker meeting of Tecumseh, Ontario's municipal council following the 1980 municipal elections, outgoing reeve and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Cameron Frye acknowledges that he is gay.[55] The campaign had been marked by rumours about Frye's sexuality, including the distribution of hate literature claiming that Frye would promote a "gay lifestyle" as mayor and would lead the town into "moral decay",[56] although Frye refused to address the rumours about his sexuality during the campaign.[28]


  • February 5: Four gay bathhouses in Toronto are raided by the Toronto Police Service in Operation Soap. The event is now considered one of the crucial turning points in Canadian LGBT history, as an unprecedented community mobilization — now regarded as the Canadian equivalent of the 1969 Stonewall riots[57] — took place to protest police conduct. One of the protest marches during this mobilization is now generally recognized as the first Toronto Pride event.[58]
  • February 11: As part of the continuing series of protests against Operation Soap, gay activist George Hislop announces that he will run as an independent protest candidate in the riding of St. George in the 1981 provincial election.
  • February 22: The Running Man, starring Chuck Shamata as a man struggling to come to terms with being gay, airs on the CBC Television anthology series For the Record as the first known LGBT-themed television film produced in Canada.[59]
  • May 30: Pisces Health Spa in Edmonton, Alberta, is raided by the City of Edmonton Police after a lengthy undercover investigation by the then called Morality Control Unit. Many of the 56 men police arrested eventually pleaded guilty, despite the fact that there was no evidence to suggest prostitutes were working in the spa, nor that minors were enticed to enter. Undercover police officers had acted as patrons of the Pisces Health Spa. One of the arrested men was Michael Phair, later to become the city's first openly gay city councillor.[60]
  • Jim Egan is elected to the Comox-Strathcona Regional District board.



  • April 20: The Back Door Gym, one of the establishments raided in 1981, is raided again. This raid is protested on April 23. No further bathhouse raids take place in the 1980s. The warrant used in this raid was declared invalid by the courts on October 3, 1984.[citation needed]
  • July 23: A firebombing attack on Henry Morgentaler's abortion clinic in Toronto also results in significant damage to the Toronto Women's Bookstore, one of Canada's most important venues for feminist and lesbian literature.[61]





  • February: Pink Triangle Press ceases publication of The Body Politic.[23]
  • August 2: Winnipeg holds its first-ever Pride, with a turn-out of 250 LGB community members, supporters, and allies. The inaugural Pride Winnipeg was one of the first Pride celebrations in Western Canada, following Vancouver in 1979 and Edmonton in 1980. Some the first participants of this event actually wore paper bags over their heads out of fear of rallying in public. The event has since grown to a vibrant, annual festival with an attendance of 35,000.[65]



  • March 19: Joe Rose, a young gay activist in Montreal, is stabbed to death by a gang of teenagers who targeted him for having pink hair. The incident later inspires educator Michael Whatling, who had been a classmate of Rose's at the time of his death, to publish A Vigil for Joe Rose, an exploration of the struggles faced by LGBT students.[68]
  • August 21: Alain Brosseau, a straight man in Ottawa, is attacked by a gang of teenagers who wrongly assumed he was gay, while walking home from his job at the Château Laurier.[69] The attackers chase him through Major's Hill Park to the Alexandra Bridge, and then throw him off the bridge resulting in his death.[69] This results in an LGBT community outcry and eventually leads to the formation of the Ottawa Police Service's LGBT Liaison Committee two years later.[69]
  • November: Glen Murray is elected as the first openly gay member of Winnipeg City Council. He was well known for his leadership in successful LGBTQ+ human rights campaigns & AIDS activism.




  • Hamilton, Ontario mayor Bob Morrow is criticized for refusing to issue an LGBTQ Pride proclamation in the city.[73] Morrow cites a lack of consensus among Hamilton City Council rather than any personal animus against LGBT people,[73] although councillor Dominic Agostino tries to broker a compromise under which Morrow would write a welcome letter instead of a formal civic proclamation.[74]
  • Following the Alain Brosseau incident of 1989, the Ottawa Police Service forms Canada's first LGBT Police Liaison Committee, with members of both the city's LGBT community and the Ottawa Police force, sitting on it, as well as Canada's first police unit specifically dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.[69]
  • Kyle Rae is elected as the first openly gay member of Toronto City Council.


  • The Brick Brewing Company of Waterloo introduces Pride Lager, Canada's first beer marketed specifically to LGBT consumers.[75]
  • August 6: Ontario Court of Appeal rules in Haig v. Canada, 1992 CanLII 2787 (ON CA) that sexual orientation is an analogous ground of discrimination under s. 15 of the Charter.
  • November 29: Yves Lalonde is murdered in Montreal's Angrignon Park by a gang of four neo-Nazi skinheads.[76]


  • Pink Triangle Press launches Capital Xtra! in Ottawa and Xtra! West in Vancouver.[23]
  • In reaction to the Sex Garage raid of 1990, Divers/Cité is launched as Montreal's annual pride festival.[77]
  • February 25: A Supreme Court of Canada case, Canada (AG) v Mossop, rules against Brian Mossop's appeal after he is denied employment leave to attend the funeral of his partner Ken Popert's father.[78] Despite the ruling, the case is significant as the first Supreme Court case to explicitly take up a question of LGBT equality rights.
  • July 12: Unknown persons toss three Molotov cocktails at the front door of the St. Marc Spa in Toronto. Bomb threats are also called in against Woody's, Bar 501 and the offices of Xtra! the following night.[79]
  • October 16: CBC Radio's The Inside Track, a documentary series about social and cultural issues in sport, airs "The Last Closet", a one-hour special on homophobia in sports. The episode is noted for featuring voice-filtered interviews with two anonymous gay Canadian athletes who were not yet prepared to officially come out; they would later be revealed as Mark Leduc and Mark Tewksbury.[80]
  • March 1993: In the precedent-setting Ontario Human Rights Commission case Waterman vs. National Life, insurance company National Life is ordered to pay $23,390 in damages to Jan Waterman, a part-time employee who had an offer of full-time employment with the company rescinded after she came out as lesbian.[81]



  • March: The Ontario Human Rights Commission finds that Hamilton, Ontario mayor Bob Morrow's refusal to proclaim Pride Week in 1991 is discriminatory, ordering him to pay $5,000 in damages to the city's Gay and Lesbian Alliance and to issue the proclamation in 1995.[82] Morrow issues a proclamation for 1995,[83] but concurrently announces that he will cease issuing any further civic proclamations for any events at all.[84]
  • July: Diane Haskett decides not to proclaim Gay Pride, and subsequently is sued by the Homophile Association of London Ontario (HALO). In 1997, she was found guilty of discrimination as a result of the lawsuit.[85]
  • unknown date: The Nu West Steam Bath in New Westminster, British Columbia is raided by its new landlords, who enter the premises and cause damage with the express intention of evicting the facility from their property.[79]
  • May 25: In the Egan v. Canada decision, the Supreme Court of Canada rules that freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a protected right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[86] Despite this, the court rules against Jim Egan on the issue of spousal pension benefits that was the core of the case,[86] finding that the restriction of spousal benefits was a justified infringement on the grounds that the core purpose of the benefits was to provide financial support to women who had spent their lives as housewives and mothers without earning their own independent income.[86]




  • April 2: Vriend v Alberta [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493 is an important Supreme Court of Canada case that determined that a legislative omission can be the subject of a Charter violation. The court ruled that to remedy the situation "sexual orientation" must be read into the impugned provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • September: The first gay-straight alliance in Canada is founded at Pinetree Secondary School in Coquitlam, British Columbia.[92]
  • October 12: A naked "mystery man" suffering from dissociative amnesia is found behind a dumpster in Montreal; the only things he reports recalling are that his name is James Brighton and that he is gay.[93] He is eventually confirmed as Matthew Honeycutt, a young heterosexual man from La Follette, Tennessee who was attempting to run away from his fundamentalist Christian family and escape petty crime charges.[94] His story is later dramatized by director Denis Langlois in the 2005 film Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma.[95]
  • October 28: Glen Murray is elected mayor of Winnipeg, becoming Canada's and North America's first openly gay mayor of a major city.[96]


  • June 3: George Smitherman is elected in the Ontario provincial election, becoming Ontario's first openly gay MPP.
  • The National Archives of Canada release previously-sealed personal papers from former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton, 24 years after her death. The released documents include a series of intimate personal letters between Whitton and Margaret Grier, a woman with whom Whitton lived in a Boston marriage until Grier's death. The release of these papers sparked much debate in the Canadian media about whether Whitton and Grier's relationship could be characterized as lesbian, or merely as an emotionally intimate friendship between two unmarried women.[97]







  • March 24: Gay Ontario MPP Dominic Agostino dies of cancer. Controversy results when initial media reports of his death state that he was married to a woman.[105]
  • August 13: Police raid the Warehouse baths in Hamilton, Ontario.[79]





  • September 29: At an all-candidates debate staged for a high school student audience in Sudbury during the 2008 federal election, independent candidate David Popescu responds to a question about same-sex marriage by stating that "homosexuals should be executed". His remarks are widely criticized across Canada, and the Greater Sudbury Police Service investigates whether the comments constitute a crime under Canadian hate speech legislation.[111] On October 2, he also calls for the execution of Egale Canada executive director Helen Kennedy in an interview on CFRB, leading to a second hate crimes investigation by the Toronto Police.[112]
  • October 23–26: Vancouver Pride hosts the InterPride Annual World Congress for Pride organizers from around the world.
  • October 29: Two provincial by-elections are held in British Columbia to fill vacancies in the provincial Legislative Assembly. Both are won by openly gay candidates — Spencer Herbert is elected in Vancouver-Burrard, and Jenn McGinn is elected in Vancouver-Fairview.
  • November 3: A lesbian couple, Jane Currie and Anji Dimitriou, are physically assaulted while waiting to pick up their son at Gordon B. Attersley Public School in Oshawa, Ontario by Mark Scott, the parent of another child at the school.[113] Over 300 people gather outside Oshawa City Hall on November 14 to protest the incident.[114] The Durham Regional Police Service later announce that the incident will not be prosecuted as a hate crime, as Scott neither advocated genocide nor incited anyone else to join in the attack.[115]


  • February 5: Ryan Cran, one of the killers in the Aaron Webster incident of 2001, is released on parole after serving four years of a six-year sentence.[116]
  • March 5: Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General announces that they have concluded their hate crimes investigation in the David Popescu incident of 2008, and officially charge Popescu with two counts of willful promotion of hatred, under Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code. His court appearance is scheduled for April 15.
  • March 13: Shawn Woodward is charged with aggravated assault after physically attacking 62-year-old Ritchie Dowrey in Vancouver's Fountainhead Pub, allegedly because "He’s a faggot. He deserved it."[117] Dowrey had briefly bumped into Woodward's shoulder, which the heterosexual Woodward characterized during his trial as a predatory sexual advance.[118] Although Dowrey survived the assault, he suffered serious and permanent brain damage, and spent the entire rest of his life living in care facilities until his death in 2015.[119]
  • April 24: In the British Columbia provincial election campaign, Liberal candidate Marc Dalton faces controversy when an e-mail he sent to a colleague in 1996 is released to the media, in which he stated that

    I am not against homosexuals as people, but I do not support their lifestyle choices. I believe homosexuality is a moral issue. Most of us agree on many morals: respect, honesty, kindness. There are also many behaviours and acts that most of us would not condone: rape, robbery, assault, drunken driving, pedophilia, incest and so on.[120]

  • May 12: On election night in British Columbia, out gay MLA Spencer Herbert is re-elected in Vancouver-West End and out gay MLA Nicholas Simons is re-elected in Powell River-Sunshine Coast. Out lesbian MLA Jenn McGinn is defeated in Vancouver-Fairview, but another out lesbian, Mable Elmore, is elected in Vancouver-Kensington.





  • March 19: Craig Scott wins the federal by-election in Toronto—Danforth, becoming the sixth openly gay MP in the 41st Canadian Parliament.
  • April 14: Allan Hunsperger, a Christian minister from Tofield, Alberta, running as a Wildrose candidate in the Alberta provincial election, becomes a focus of controversy when a blog post he wrote in 2011, in his capacity as a church minister, is publicized in the media. The blog post, structured and themed as a rebuttal to Lady Gaga's song "Born This Way", asserts that "accepting people the way they are is cruel and not loving", and that gay people are destined to "suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire".[138]
  • April 17: Halifax gay activist Raymond Taavel is beaten to death outside Menz & Mollyz, a gay bar on the city's Göttingen Street, by Andre Denny, a paranoid schizophrenic on an unsupervised leave from a nearby mental hospital, after attempting to break up a fight between Denny and another man.[139] Taavel was a former chair of the city's gay pride festival and a former editor at the LGBT magazine Wayves and worked at the spiritual magazine Shambhala Sun.[139] Over 1,000 people attend a vigil in Taavel's memory later the same evening, which includes performances by poet Tanya Davis, actor and writer Stewart Legere and singer-songwriters Rose Cousins and Ria Mae.[140] Although there were unconfirmed allegations that Denny used anti-gay slurs while attacking Taavel,[141] to date media and the police have not asserted that the case clearly constituted a hate crime, generally attributing the attack to Denny's mental illness rather than to a specifically anti-gay bias.[141] Ironically, Taavel had previously survived a more clearly anti-gay physical attack, which he wrote about in Wayves in May 2010.[142]
  • April 18: For the second year in a row, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford declines an invitation to attend the city's annual Pride Parade, on the grounds that it conflicts with his family's traditional cottage weekend.[143] Unlike in 2011, however, he subsequently attends a PFLAG event on May 17 to mark the International Day Against Homophobia.[144]
  • April 20: Due to a channel switching error at Shaw Cable facilities in Hamilton, the morning newscast on CHCH-TV is replaced for three minutes by a clip of a gay porn movie.[145]
  • May 19: Following a legal battle to reverse her disqualification for not being a "naturally born female", Vancouver resident Jenna Talackova successfully becomes the first transgender woman to compete in a Miss Universe pageant.[146] She does not make the Top 5, but is one of four contestants awarded the title of "Miss Congeniality".[146]
  • November: Twenty LGBT officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police release an online video as part of the international It Gets Better Project.[147]
  • December 6: Bill No. 140 of the 61st General Assembly of Nova Scotia known as the Transgendered Persons Protection Act was given Royal Assent by the then Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Mayann Francis. It added both gender identity and gender expression to the list of things explicitly protected from harassment in the province's Human Rights Act.[148]


  • February 11: Kathleen Wynne is sworn as Premier of Ontario, becoming both Ontario's first female premier and Canada's first openly LGBT first minister.[149]
  • March 12: Pink Triangle Press announces the discontinuation of long-running Toronto LGBT magazine fab.[150]
  • March 20: The House of Commons passes Bill C-279, a private member's bill sponsored by Randall Garrison, which officially extends human rights protections to transgender and transsexual people in Canada.[151] The bill passes with virtually unanimous support on the opposition benches, as well as 18 members of the governing Conservative Party caucus, although the majority of Conservatives are opposed.[151]
  • April 2: The gay owners of a restaurant in Morris, Manitoba, announce that they are closing the establishment, just three months after opening it, due to homophobic persecution by some residents of the town.[152] The situation draws widespread criticism across Canada, including comments of support for the owners from Morris mayor Gavin van der Linde, Manitoba premier Greg Selinger and opposition leader Brian Pallister;[153] Selinger announces that he will have lunch at the restaurant during his upcoming flood preparation tour of the Red River Valley region.[153]
  • April 18: ProudPolitics, a new cross-partisan organization dedicated to creating networking and fundraising opportunities for LGBT politicians and candidates, launches in Toronto.[154]
  • June 6: The Toronto Police Service announces that they are investigating the possibility that three unsolved missing persons cases involving men who were last seen in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, the city's primary gay village, may be linked.[155] All three are eventually linked to the Bruce McArthur investigation and arrest in 2018.
  • June 7: Edmonton Pride begins with a raising of the rainbow flag on the grounds of CFB Edmonton, the first time in Canadian history that the flag has flown on a military base.[156]
  • June 24: For the first time in his mayoralty, Rob Ford attends the annual kickoff of Toronto's Pride Week to read the official city proclamation.[157] Kathleen Wynne also announces that she will march in the parade, becoming the first incumbent Premier of Ontario ever to do so.[158]
  • June 19: Media begin to publicize a series of threatening letters received by a lesbian couple in Kingston, Ontario, from an anonymous "small but dedicated group of Kingston residents devoted to removing the scourge of homosexuality in our city".[159]
  • August 7: REAL Women of Canada issues a statement criticizing Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird for speaking out on LGBT human rights issues in both Uganda and Russia as part of Canada's foreign policy.[160]
  • October 12: Scott Jones, a gay resident of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, is stabbed by a knife-wielding man after leaving the Acro Lounge.[161] He is left paraplegic by the attack.[161] His journey of healing and recovery is later profiled in the 2018 documentary film Love, Scott.
  • October 21: Priape, an LGBT-oriented clothing retailer with stores in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, closes all four of its locations following bankruptcy proceedings filed earlier in the year.[162] Following Quebec Superior Court approval of a purchase offer on October 30, the new owners announce that they will reopen the flagship store in Montreal, but that the other locations will remain closed.[163]




  • January 21: Through her foundation, Jennifer Pritzker gives a $2 million donation to create the world's first endowed academic chair of transgender studies, at the University of Victoria in British Columbia; Aaron Devor was chosen as the inaugural chair.[214]
  • February 2: Ricardo Miranda was appointed as Alberta's Minister of Culture and Tourism by Alberta premier Rachel Notley, and became Alberta's first openly gay cabinet member.[215]
  • February 23: The ceremonial first kiss shared between a sailor and their partner after returning from active duty in the Canadian Navy was between two men for the first time.[216]
  • February 28: CBC News reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intended to recommend that a pardon under the authority of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy be granted posthumously to George Klippert, the last person in Canada to be imprisoned for homosexuality.[217]
  • May 17: Federal Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould introduces Bill C-16, which will update the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include "gender identity and gender expression" as protected grounds from discrimination, hate publications and advocating genocide. The bill will also add "gender identity and expression" to the list of aggravating factors in sentencing, where the accused commits a criminal offence against an individual because of those personal characteristics.[218] Although the New Democratic Party had introduced similar private member's bills several times in previous years, C-16 represents the first time such a bill has been put forward by the governing party in the House of Commons.[218]
  • June 1: For the first time in Canadian history, a pride flag is raised on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.[219]
  • June 22: Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders issues an official statement of regrets for the Operation Soap raids of 1981.[220]
  • July 3: The Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter stages a protest as honoured guests of Pride Toronto, demanding more funding to people of colour events at pride, and removal of police floats in future parades.[221]
  • July 9: The city of Steinbach becomes the first rural community in Manitoba to host a Pride event. The march and rally united over 3,000 participants and made national headlines. The Steinbach Pride event was a significant milestone, as LGBT rights became formally recognized in a predominantly Mennonite community (with just over 15,000 residents).[222]
  • August 27: The city of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, hosts its inaugural Pride, quickly following in the footsteps of Steinbach's Pride in July. The march, rally, and social attracted between 1,000 and 1,200 people - another milestone in a rural, Conservative area. Portage la Prairie, with a population of only 13,000, is one of the smallest communities to host a Pride event in Canada.[223]
  • September 17: The Reverend Canon Kevin Robertson is elected a bishop in the Diocese of Toronto, becoming the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.[224]
  • November 11: Toronto Police press 89 charges – only one of which is criminal in nature—against 72 people as part of 'Project Marie', an under-cover sting operation in a Toronto park long known for its gay cruising. Politicians and civil society groups speak out and provide pro bono legal support of those charged.[225]
  • November 15: Federal MP Randy Boissonnault is named as the government's LGBTQ issues advisor, with a mandate "to advance and protect the rights of the community and address historical injustices".[226]
  • November 25: In conjunction with the Strikers sports bar in Toronto, the Canadian Football League and You Can Play host the first-ever officially league-sponsored LGBTQ Grey Cup party.[227]


  • January 17: Gabrielle Tremblay receives a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Canadian Screen Awards, for her role in Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves (Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n'ont fait que se creuser un tombeau), becoming the first transgender actress nominated for either a CSA or their predecessor Genie Awards.[228]
  • January 31: Brent Hawkes, the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, is found not guilty of charges relating to allegations of indecent assault alleged to have occurred in 1974.[229]
  • March 12: At the 5th Canadian Screen Awards, the gay-themed film It's Only the End of the World wins the Canadian Screen Award for Best Motion Picture.[89]
  • June 19: Bill C-16, after having passed the legislative process in the House of Commons and the Senate, became law upon receiving Royal Assent which put it into immediate force.[230][231][232] The law updated the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include "gender identity and gender expression" as protected grounds from discrimination, hate publications and advocating genocide. The bill also added "gender identity and expression" to the list of aggravating factors in sentencing, where the accused commits a criminal offence against an individual because of those personal characteristics.
  • July 9: Jeff Rock is announced as the new senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, to succeed Hawkes upon the latter's retirement in the fall.[233]
  • November 28: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offers an apology to the LGBTQ2S community in the House of Commons and the reparations process begins.[234] Section 159 would be repealed. Errors from the Purge of the 1950s through the 1990s resulting in criminal records of individuals would be corrected by the destruction of such files. Civil servants and military personnel who lost their livelihoods from this discriminatory policy based on sexual orientation will share in a 110 million Canadian Dollar settlement of a class action suit.


  • January 11: Canadian Women's Hockey League player Jessica Platt comes out as a transgender woman, making her the first transgender woman to come out in North American professional hockey.[235][236]
  • January 18: Bruce McArthur is arrested in conjunction with the deaths of several men who went missing in Toronto's Church and Wellesley gay village between 2010 and 2017. He has to date been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder.
  • February: Canadian Eric Radford becomes the first openly gay man to win a gold medal at any Winter Olympics.[237]
  • April 8: Gerry Rogers becomes the first openly gay person to win the leadership of a Newfoundland and Labrador political party.
  • June 6: Kathleen Wynne, Canada's and Ontario's first openly LGBT provincial premier, is defeated as premier in the 2018 Ontario general election; however, she is successfully reelected to the legislature as MPP in her own district. The other two out LGBT MPPs in the previous legislature, Cheri DiNovo and Glen Murray, retire from politics and do not run for reelection; however, Terence Kernaghan and Jill Andrew are elected, keeping LGBT representation in the legislature at three.
  • June 1: The Fruit Machine, directed by Sarah Fodey, premieres at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival. The documentary presents survivor accounts of the gay purge of the 1950s through 1990s in the Canadian military and civil service using the "fruit machine" as a scientific detection tool.[238]
  • June 13: Jim Egan, an important early gay rights activist, becomes the subject of the first Heritage Minute on an LGBTQ2 theme.[239]


  • April 23: The Canadian Mint introduces a special Canadian dollar coin, designed by Vancouver LGBT artist Joe Average, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.[240]
  • June 15: Pride Hamilton, the annual LGBTQ Pride event in Hamilton, Ontario, is disrupted by a violent anti-LGBTQ protest.[241] The Hamilton Police Service subsequently face criticism, both for taking too long to respond to the immediate situation[242] and for its post-confrontation arrests, which initially targeted people who were defending the event against the violence rather than the instigators of it.[243] Later arrests did include some of the protestors.[244] The community reaction includes direct pickets of mayor Fred Eisenberger's home, which Eisenberger characterizes as inappropriate harassment of his family and as not representative of the city's LGBTQ community.[245]
  • June 21: The Canadian Government repeals Section 159 of the Criminal Code, which prohibited anal intercourse except by a husband and a wife or two persons who are both 18 years or older, provided that the act was consensual and took place in private. The repeal of Section 159 eliminates the disparity in the age of consent for anal intercourse versus other sexual acts; the age of consent is now 16 for all sexual acts.[246]
  • August 17: In an op-ed to the Ottawa Citizen, Jim Watson announces that he is coming out of the closet, becoming Ottawa's first openly gay mayor and making Ottawa the largest city in Canada to have had an out LGBTQ mayor.[247]
  • October 21: In the 2019 Canadian federal election, out LGBT MPs Randall Garrison, Rob Oliphant and Seamus O'Regan are reelected, Sheri Benson and Randy Boissonnault are defeated, Scott Brison retires from politics and does not run for a new term, and Eric Duncan is newly elected to his first term, resulting in LGBT representation in Parliament declining slightly from six MPs to four.



  • January 21: Pride Toronto announces that Olivia Nuamah is no longer its executive director, as of January 15.[248] Despite concerns from the organization's membership about the timing of her departure just months before the 2020 event, the board declines to clarify the reasons for her departure, or even whether she resigned or was fired.[249]
  • March/April: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, both Pride Toronto[250] and Fierté Montréal,[251] Canada's two largest and most prominent pride festivals, are cancelled. Several pride festivals cancel their regular events, but announce plans to proceed with online "digital pride" festivals, including Vancouver Pride,[252] Calgary Pride,[253] Capital Pride (Ottawa)[254] and Sudbury Pride.[255] Vancouver Pride is additionally targeted during this time by scammers who post fraudulent posters around the city's West End to solicit donations via Bitcoin.[256]
  • May/June: Pegasus, a popular bar in Toronto's Church and Wellesley village, announces that it is at risk of closing because its landlord is refusing to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program.[257] The federal government program had been designed to help protect small businesses from closure by subsidizing their rent during the coronavirus shutdown, but still leaves businesses vulnerable because it requires buy-in from the landlord as well.[258] In early June, it is announced that the landlord has finally agreed to participate in the program.[259]
  • June 24: Out lesbian singer-songwriter Safia Nolin coordinates Saint-Jeanne, an LGBTQ-inclusive Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day livestream whose participants include comedians Tranna Wintour and Karl Hardy, actress and writer Gabrielle Tremblay, songwriter and producer Annie Sama (Apigeon), rapper Backxwash and drag queens Kiara, Matante Alex and Gisèle Lullaby.[260]
  • June 24: CBC Gem and Buddies in Bad Times collaborate on Queer Pride Inside, an online event hosted by Elvira Kurt and featuring performances by Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Teiya Kasahara, Yovska, Ivan Coyote, Les Femmes Fatales, Gay Jesus, Cris Derksen, Luna Dubois, Pearle Harbour, Tawiah M'carthy, Stewart Legere, Alexis O'Hara, Trey Anthony and Ryan G. Hinds.[261]
  • July 2: The first season of Canada's Drag Race, the Canadian edition of the RuPaul's Drag Race franchise, premieres.
  • August 14: All of the queens who competed in Canada's Drag Race participate in a special online edition of Fierté Montréal's annual Drag Superstars show.[262]
  • September 3: Priyanka is announced as the first season winner of Canada's Drag Race.


  • June 8: The business improvement association in Toronto's Church and Wellesley gay village calls for the removal of the Alexander Wood statue from the corner of Church and Maitland Streets, following the revelation that Wood was involved in the Society for Converting and Civilizing the Indians and Propagating the Gospel Among Destitute Settlers in Upper Canada, which contributed to the creation of the Indian residential school system in Canada.[263]
  • June 9: The Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League announce the suspension of Chris Larsen after his participation in a gay-bashing attack is alleged.[264] Larsen was drafted by the team in 2019, but has never yet played on the field in a Redblacks game. The police clear him of involvement on June 16.[265]
  • June 26-27: With large-scale public events still curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pride Toronto again proceeds virtually. The event was hosted by Priyanka, with performers including Allie X, iskwē and Gary Beals.[266] Despite the lack of an official Pride celebration, some small-scale participant-organized Pride events did take place over the weekend, including a Dyke March[267] and a No Pride in Policing rally.[268]


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