Gay Toronto · City Guide

Gay Toronto · City Guide

First time in Toronto? Then our gay Toronto city guide page is a good place to start.

Toronto sign

Toronto is a bustling, vibrant and fun hub of cosmopolitan culture. With its diverse population, high standard of living and rich culture, the city is routinely described as one of the best places in the world to live. The city is Canada’s largest and the fourth-largest in North America with a population of almost 3 million and over 200 cultures.

The city also boasts one of the liveliest and most dynamic gay scenes in North America, with LGBT+ individuals living openly and proudly. There is a plethora of gay bars, clubs and hotels that are mainly centered around Toronto’s gay district of Church and Wellesley.

Gay Rights in Toronto

LGBT+ rights in Canada are some of the most advanced in the Americas and much of the Canadian LGBT+ population enjoy a full set of protections and rights. In Toronto specifically, the gay population is evident and obvious and gay travelers will notice the many pride flags dotted around the city. Canada was one of the first countries to create a third gender option on official documents for individuals who identify as non-binary.

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Gay bars in Toronto

Toronto is home to Canada’s largest gay village and the area has a dense and concentrated selection of gay bars and clubs. The gay nightlife in the district is varied and inclusive and there’s a gay night suited to any traveler’s interests and tastes.

Many of the gay bars and clubs found in the Church and Wellesley gay village are iconic and globally recognised institutions of gay culture and community, including Woody’s – one of the main filming locations for the US version of the legendary Queer as Folk. Read More: A Gay Guide to Toronto.

Toronto · Hotels

Gay hotels in Toronto

Toronto is home to some of the world’s most modern and innovative hotels, and the best locations for gay travelers to stay are in the Downtown area or the Church and Wellesley gay village. These locations provide central bases for gay travelers wanting to experience Toronto with convenience and comfort. Hotels such as the Courtyard Toronto, Ramada Plaza and the Town Inn Suites all offer guests a stylish stay in the heart of the city’s gay village, Church and Wellesley.

Toronto is also home to a range of more luxurious 5-star hotels such as the Four Seasons, a beautiful blend of elegance and sophistication close by to the city’s legendary gay district. The hotel offers guests a variety of amenities including a large spa, swimming pool and in-house high-end restaurant.

The majority of hotels in Toronto can be considered gay-friendly as staff are obliged to treat all guests with the same respect and dignity regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, as outlined in the country’s anti-discrimination laws.

Gay saunas in Toronto

Toronto boasts a large selection of gay saunas, many of which are open 24/7. One of the most popular venues in the city is Steamworks, a large and well-maintained sauna and gym with a central location on the iconic Church Street. Steamworks attracts crowds of both locals and tourists and is open 24 hours. The sauna features a range of facilities including a gym, hot-tubs, private cabins and glory holes.

Toronto Pride 2019

Getting to Toronto

Toronto is served by Toronto Pearson International Airport which is located about 30 km from the city’s Downtown area. It is the largest and busiest airport in Canada and offers connections to most major global destinations. There are two terminals. Terminal One is the largest in Canada and the 12th largest in the world. Terminal Three is the second, and smaller of the pair.

Getting around Toronto

Taxi

The most popular and convenient method for tourists to get to the city is by taxi. These are available immediately outside of the terminals. Expect to pay around $50-60 to get into the city center. Toronto boasts a large fleet of taxis, all of which are single fare and free from price surges. Taxis in the city are privately owned and can be easily hailed by standing on the curb and waiting. Alternatively, there is a high concentration of Uber vehicles which are slightly more expensive but at times, more convenient.

Train

The Union Pearson Express train runs from Pearson Airport to Union Station in downtown Toronto. The journey takes only 25-minutes and an adult one-way fare from Pearson to Union is $12.35.

Bus

Buses are an efficient way of getting around Toronto and have the added bonus of allowing you to view the city as you travel. Bus stops can be identified by a white poll with red horizontal bands. Tickets are generally inexpensive and passes can be purchased for weekends and weekdays.

Metro

The most popular way to travel amongst locals, the metro is frequent, cheap and fast, making it the perfect travel alternative. The city’s metro network runs from 6 am to 1.30 am and trains top at all stations along the line. Tickets can be purchased with either cash or card and the majority of stations are completely accessible for users of reduced mobility. The best way to plan metro travel in Toronto is by downloading the Toronto Transit Commission’s interactive subway map.

Things to do in Toronto

There are limitless possibilities when it comes to things to do in Toronto. However, the most important attractions include:

  • Climb the CN Tower
  • Explore Casa Loma
  • Spend the day in High Park
  • Shop at St Lawrence Market
  • Be immersed in the Royal Ontario Museum
  • Visit the gay beach at Hanlan’s Point

Read More: Things to do in Toronto

FAQs

Visa

For visits of less than 180 days, USA travelers do not need a visa to enter Canada. For trips longer than this period, individuals must apply for a Canadian visa- this process can take 1-2 months. Travelers from outside the USA should check the Canadian visa regulations for their home country before visiting.

Money

Toronto is not a cheap city. In fact, it’s Canada’s most expensive. Prices are as marked and the bill tends to include a 13% ‘harmonised sales tax’, however, it’s generally expected that individuals round up that figure to 18% or higher for good to exceptional service. The currency in Toronto is the Canadian Dollar.

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in the city, however, it is recommended that travelers carry a small amount of cash for small and independent stores which may not accept cards. ATM machines are plentiful in Toronto, but they may charge a fee for withdrawals from overseas cards.

When to visit

Spring and fall are generally the best times to visit Toronto. During these periods gay travelers can take full advantage of the smaller crowds, milder weather and selection of cultural events. In spring, the streets of the city are alive and bustling and the sidewalks come alive with open-air markets, outside eateries and street performers, however, the nicer weather tends to mean higher prices for hotels and flights, so the cheapest time to visit the city is in winter.

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