Thursday, July 14, 2011

'Mapping Queer History' feature in NOW Magazine

As part of their Pride coverage, Toronto's NOW Magazine published a map listing sites of historical interest as well as current institutions and organizations. We had some problems with the article, but we've been in touch with NOW and they've been very receptive. They're publishing a shortened version of our letter in an upcoming issue, but we wanted to share the whole thing. Big thanks to volunteers Gordon and Harold for combing through the original piece and correcting the inaccuracies.

NOW Magazine

189 Church Street

Toronto, ON M5B 1Y7

July 12, 2011

Dear Editors:

We are writing in reference to your recent piece, “Mapping Queer Toronto” (compiled by Julia Hoecke, Fran Schechter and Susan G. Cole, V.30 No.44). While we applaud any efforts made to teach Torontonians about queer history, we wanted to bring your attention to some of the inaccurate information presented in the article. We were also puzzled to see the reference to the ‘Lesbian and Gay Archives of Toronto’ at the end of the piece; as far as we know, this organization does not exist. (we are the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, or CLGA). Finally, the fact that we were not included in the list of current organizations is somewhat disheartening, given that we have been active for nearly 40 years and our General Manager was asked to assist with research.

Here is an overview of the errors that we noticed should you wish to make corrections.

Current Organizations and Institutions

4. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. The first performance was in 1978 at the Dream Factory on Queen Street.

6. Community AIDS Treatment. The name is actually the Community AIDS Treatment Information Exchange, though it is more widely known by the acronym CATIE.

Commemorative Sites

2. AIDS Memorial. The permanent memorial was completed in 1993, but there was a list of names presented in a temporary yearly memorial between 1988 and 1991.

Historical Locations

1.The Albany. The bar and the club seem to have been confused. The Albany Bar operated for about five years at 90 King St. E, while the Albany Club is at 91 King St. East. The latter is the one founded by Sir John A. MacDonald.

The Body Politic. The original address should be 65 Kendal Avenue, Apt.8, not 4 Kensington. CLGA General Manager Elizabeth Bailey sent an e-mail to Julia Hoecke with this information on June 27, 2011.

14. Gay Alliance for Equality. This organization was in Halifax. The Toronto organization was called Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE).

15. Glad Day Bookshop. Founder Jearld Moldenhauer used his apartment at 65 Kendal Avenue (see #5) as the first location of store.

17. Health Emporium. This was actually called the Richmond Street Health Emporium.

23. Remington’s. This is not a bathhouse and was founded in 1993, so it was definitely not targeted in the 1981 raids. The bathhouses targeted in the raids were: Club Baths, the Roman II Health and Recreation, the Richmond Street Health Emporium and the Barracks.

24. St. Charles Tavern. This was not located at Yonge and Charles, but rather several blocks south at 488 Yonge Street (near Alexander St.). An article from NOW’s 2008 Pride Guide (“10 Places to go to get in touch with Your Inner Gay” by Enzo Di Matteo) cites the correct address.

In light of these errors, we hope that you understand our position. Queer history is so often marginalized and/or misrepresented that accuracy is of paramount importance to us. We invite your reporters to visit us at 34 Isabella Street should they wish to learn more.

Sincerely, The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

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