The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto

OK, Calgary Gay History fans – I am back in the research saddle, so to speak, but strangely not in Cowtown – rather, Hogtown!

After taking a break in March, I planned a trip to Toronto to visit the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives – the largest queer archives in the country.  However, arriving here I was told by archivist and volunteer Don McLeod, that in fact, it is the largest queer archive in the world.  The research facility is located in a historical house on Isabella Street; the archives main storage (which includes the bulk of their holdings) is held in an office building located on the famous Church and Wellesley intersection just a few blocks away.

Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

The archives are predominantly volunteer run and exists almost entirely on private donations (for which they issue tax receipts).  Don said that he has been with the archives for 29 years, but that makes him only 4th in seniority with respect to years served!  2013 marks the CLGA’s 40th anniversary.

And there are treasures here.  Specific to my Calgary research, I have found early gay publications from our city such as Carousel Capers, Club Carousel’s monthly newsletter from 1973-1975, as well as more biographical information and research files relating to Everett Klippert (although he grew up in Calgary, he was born in Kindersley, Saskatchewan).

So the next time you are in Toronto, visit the archives (check their website for visiting hours), they have a gallery with new exhibitions changing regularly and the archive volunteers are both helpful and kind.

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