One of Kevin Allen’s favourite aspects of the Calgary Gay History Project are public gay history walks. Started at Jane’s Walk 2013, Kevin has been conducting these tours of a little known Calgary ever since. There is something unique about locating history in the landscape. Parks, alleys, and storefronts open to reveal their hidden past. Walkers learn new stories about the neighbourhoods they live in or travel through.
Every year the walk evolves as more stories from Calgary’s LGBTQ2 past come to light. Kevin will be hosting several walks for Calgary Pride 2020: two in the Beltline, and two Downtown. All of them are fundraisers for Calgary Pride, whose operations have been sharply impacted by the pandemic.
The Beltliner Presents Pride History Walk & Brunch
Kevin has teamed up with The Beltliner to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Calgary Pride with a History Walk through the Beltline, followed by brunch on both Saturday, August 29th and Sunday, August 30th at 11 AM.
The event begins at The Beltliner (243 12 Ave. SW) with coffee and pastry for the Walk, which lasts approximately one hour. We will travel to significant historical gathering spots for the LGBTQ2 community in this inner city neighbourhood, including Calgary’s first gay bar, Club Carousel. Returning to the restaurant, brunch will be served! Tickets are $50 (plus applicable taxes and fees) and are available at www.showpass.com/pridehistorywalk.
The event is an #OURPRIDE initiative which invites businesses to host their own pride festival event to show support for Calgary’s LGBTQ2 community and raise funds for Calgary Pride.
Downtown Calgary presents a Downtown Gay History Walk
The Calgary Downtown Association is hosting a tour with Kevin that will explore the city’s LGBTQ2 past through the city core on Saturday, August 29th and Saturday, September 5th at 2 PM. This one hour tour will inspire a deeper understanding of the community’s struggles and activism in Calgary and highlight significant political and social events that affected the gay community. On the way, tour guests will pass by several former watering holes where Calgary’s gay community gathered.
Note: Tickets are limited in all tours to allow for physical distancing. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Although we will miss the Pride Parade this year, march with Kevin on a 2020 YYC Gay History Walk!
Calgary Pride 2017 was very energizing for us at the Calgary Gay History Project. Our history walks and the festival booth were well-attended, and we received a lot of positive comments about the project.
It is important that we honour community trailblazers and in 2017 we certainly did. Lois Szabo was a stunning Parade Grand Marshal in her purple tights. She was also delightful in her many media interviews.
The YYC Legacy Project harvested lots of community feedback on what a LGBTQ2S+ history commemoration could be. They had an impressive display at Pride in the Park as well as a great interactive map of Calgary.
A very special thank you to Ayanna and Gordon who helped volunteer at the Calgary Gay History Booth. We would also like to thank project donors and all of those who came out to speak to us and were enthusiastic about our work. Finally, a big shout out to Gary Evans, a professional photographer who came to both gay history walks, documenting them, and then sending the photos to us.
Consequently, here is a photo summary of our week:
Lois Szabo, Parade Marshal with Premier Notley and a friend. Source Twitter: @RachelNotley.
Ayanna and Gordon sharing history at Pride in the Park. Photo: Kevin Allen.
Meta media image: Steve Polyak, Gay Calgary Magazine, taking a photo at the beginning of the history walk. Photo: Gary Evans, Full Frame Fotography.
Telling the story of Angels in America in YYC. Photo: Gary Evans, Full Frame Fotography.
At the site of the historic Club Carousel. Photo: Gary Evans, Full Frame Fotography.
Spontaneous sidewalk photo with walk participants – what a good looking group! Photo: Gary Evans, Full Frame Fotography.
Join the Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen on a walk through the city centre. We will highlight significant political and social events that affected the gay community. On the way, we will pass by several former watering holes where Calgary’s LGBTQ community gathered.
Meet: Hyatt Regency Calgary (700 Centre Street SE) specifically at their 8th Avenue Entrance.
Join the Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen on a walk through the Beltline. We will travel to significant historical gathering spots for the LGBTQ community in this inner city neighbourhood, including Calgary’s first gay bar, Club Carousel.
Meet: CommunityWise (The Former Old Y) 223 12 Avenue SW