Everything You Need To Know About Montreal's Gay Village

Like where all the pink balls came from.

Just east of downtown is one of Montreal's most well known neighbourhoods - the Gay Village. Centred around the Beaudry Metreo station, and running across Saint Catherine and Amherst in Ville-Marie, the Village is one of the most fun and quirky areas of Montreal. Decked out in bright colours and rainbow everything, this area is always a good time for everyone.

As it turns out, there are quite a few interesting facts about the Village, most of which are little known to the average Montrealer. So without further ado, here's everything you ever wanted to know about Montreal's Gay Village:

  • It's the largest gay village in North America
  • The village was first occupied by the gay and lesbian community after gay business men were forced from the Saint Laurent area
  • It used to be a poor working-class neighbourhood but has recently been significantly gentrified
  • The first ever recorded gay establishment in all of North America was Moise Tellier’s Apple and Cake Shop, right here in Montreal on what is now Saint Antoine Street, in 1869
  • In the 1950's Dominion Square Tavern was known as the place where gay people could meet
  • Historically, the Village came under fairly regular repression, especially before Expo 67 and the Olympics
  • And as a result of this, the Comité Homosexual Anti-Repression was created, who then hosted the largest gay demonstration in Canada on July 19 1976
  •  The Village was originally called "Le Village de l'Est" which was coined by a bar owner who, after living in NYC, wanted to have the same strong gay community in Montreal that he saw in NYC's East Village
  • The gay community eventually shortened the name to to "Le Village"
  • Every year from May-September the part of Sainte-Catherine Street that runs through the Village becomes a pedestrian only zone
  • The 200,000 pink balls that are strung across 1km of Sainte-Catherine are actually a massive installation piece that was created by the same landscape architect who also did Dorchester Square, Clock Tower Beach, and Place D’Armes

Do you know any other fun facts about the Village? Let us know!

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Laura Hanrahan

Editor

Writer, McGill student, and aspiring dog owner. Originally from Hamilton, ON but has since converted to Montrealism and has never looked back.