Case Studies / Cities

Toronto

The 519 Church Street Community Centre

The Purpose

The 519 Church Street Community Centre is the hub of community life in Toronto’s diverse Church and Wellesley Village. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, two-spirit and queer (LGBTTQ) communities and their allies and friends have always found a welcoming place at The 519.

They offer a wide range of internationally renowned Programs and Services that operate from an anti-oppression framework. Their public meeting space enable groups in our community to organize and find support as well as find enrichment through arts and culture.

The History

1700’s

The neighbourhood east of Yonge Street and north of Carlton in Toronto was a meeting place for gay men.1975

The 519 Community Centre was established around a sizable population of gay men who lived in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood.

Late 1970’s

A group of young gay men approached the Board with a proposal for Gay Youth Toronto meetings, and according to a bisexual board member he was the deciding vote to open the door for LGBTTQ groups to feel at home at The 519. T1982

After the infamous bath house raids, the Right to Privacy Committee and Gaycare were developed to deal with the aftermath. The following is just a sample of the LGBTTQ groups which made their home at The 519:

  • Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario
  • Committee to Abolish the Bawdy House Law (look for the correct name)
  • Polish Gays and Lesbians
  • Khush (South Asian Gays and Lesbians)
  • Zami (Caribbean Gays)
  • Avanti (Italian Gay and Lesbian Association)
  • Gays Lesbians of African Descent
  • Salaam – Queer Muslim Community
  • Pride Uganda Toronto
  • American Express Employees for Equal Rights
  • Canadians for Equal Marriage

And hundreds of others.

Service Programming

The 519 offers a wide spectrum of internationally renowned Programs and Services meeting the needs of our diverse LGBTTQ communities and the broader Church and Wellesely Village neighbourhood. Click on the Links below to learn more about their work.

AIDS Memorial
Anti-Violence Program (AVP)
Anti-Poverty and Homelessness
Family and Children
Counselling and Advice
Older LGBT
Queer Immigrants and Refugees
Trans
Groups

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