Tag Archives: Old Y

Upcoming Events and Holiday Hiatus

The Calgary Gay History Project is going to be subdued over the next four weeks. However, you can look forward to these Spring programming events.

Sunday, April 23rd 7 PM @ The Globe Cinema

We are partnering with the Calgary Underground Film Festival to present the WORLD PREMIERE of THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN. The film is about the celebrated author whose Tales of the City books were groundbreaking works of gay fiction. This series of nine books published between 1978 and 2014 mirrored developments in the gay rights movement across North America.
theuntoldtalesofarmisteadmaupin_photo_01

Armistead Maupin

Sunday, May 7th, 10:30 AM @ Community Wise (The Old Y) 223 12 Ave. SW
Beltline Gay History Walk (part of Jane’s Walk Weekend)
Join the Calgary Gay History Project’s Matthew Gillespie on a walk through the Beltline. We will travel to significant historical gathering spots for the gay community in this inner city neighbourhood, including Calgary’s first gay bar, from 1968, Club Carousel. Everyone welcome. 
jane

10th Anniversary Jane’s Walk

To celebrate Knox’s 10 year anniversary of being an affirming congregation in the United Church of Canada, the church is hosting a number events including a presentation on the history of the LGBTQ community and organized spirituality in Calgary. More details to come.
Knox-entrance_6ave-7252

Knox United Front Doors

{KA}

YYC LGBTQ Legacy Sites

The City of Calgary’s LGBTQ Legacy Committee recently formed: a group spearheaded by Ward 8 City Councillor Evan Woolley, with support from the Calgary Gay History Project. The Committee’s goal is to commemorate our city’s LGBTQ history with a significant and lasting monument. We are at the beginning of the process but look forward to engaging with everyone who is interested in helping to shape what our monument could be.

One of the initial questions for a monument is where? The Beltline and the inner city seem like an obvious choice, as it is where much of our community spaces were clustered in the 20th Century.

Gay Beltline in the 80s

Doug Young personal papers, Glenbow Archives M-8397-1.

Gay activist Doug Young’s personal records are in the Glenbow Archives. His hand drawn map of the Beltline from the mid-80’s illustrates there were more queer spaces at that time, then we have today.

Some ideas for a monument location that we came up with:

  • The Old Y – now called CommunityWise, was the location of the first peer support organizations in Calgary, PLC and GIRC. It later hosted dozens of other queer non-profits and collectives and became the de facto hub for the LGBTQ community. Currently, CommunityWise is home to Calgary Outlink and Fairy Tales.
  • Central Memorial Park – a gay cruising park in the 70s, it was also the site of frequent police harassment of queers. Law student Henry Berg fought back in 1981. He took the police to task and won. Later in 1990, the Boer War Memorial at the centre of the park was the site of the first Pride Rally in 1990 – the origin of Calgary Pride.
  • McHugh House – Calgary’s 6th oldest building was moved recently into Humpty Hollow Park, in a corner of the Beltline that saw a lot of gay action, with nearby bars Myrts (later the Republik), Off Centre and later MoneyPennies in the Centre 15 building. Centre 15 also housed AIDS Calgary for a number of years.
  • Tomkins Park – the block-long green space nestled on the south edge of the Beltline, was the site of a number of Pride Festivals in the 1990s when the Pride Parade’s route went down 17th Avenue.
    screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-5-07-43-pm

    Sept 1978 Ad in Gay Calgary – a GIRC Newspaper

    It was also close to Books N’ Books, an independent bookstore which proudly sold LGBTQ books, newspapers and magazines (now Big Cheese Poutinerie).

  • Greenline 12th ave station – this new LRT station opening in 2024 might pop out at 12th avenue and 1st street SW (or be an underground station): super close to the original Club Carousel as well as the Old Y.
  • Connaught Park – this West-Central Beltline Park is surrounded by lots of hi-rise apartment buildings and walk-ups. Nearby City View Manor was rumoured to have been designed to house gay men exclusively, with walk-in closets and wrap around balconies.
  • Barb Scott Park – is close to current gay bar Twisted Element and the former Warehouse and Underground Pub (which earlier was a short-lived gay bathhouse).
  • Haultain Park – is close to Central Memorial Park, Old Y, and Club Carousel. Also not too far from A Woman’s Place Bookstore, another community hub in the 80s and 90s.
  • East Village – outside of the Beltline this is one of the oldest parts of Calgary. There was a historic bath house, somewhere east of City Hall in the early 20th century that had gay undertones. Later in the 70s, there was a gay steam bath named Dan Dominique’s on 3rd St. East between 7th and 8th Avenue, reportedly not recommended for the squeamish.

Where would you like to see a memorial? Write to calgarygayhistory@gmail.com – share your thoughts.

{KA}

Pride 2016: A Visual Wrap

Last week was busy with lots of Pride Programming throughout the City.  One of our highlights was the Downtown Gay History Walk. We had a warm evening and an even warmer crowd of 60, who were keenly interested in hearing stories of our past. Our group had an interesting visual resonance with the first Pride Parade held 25 years ago in 1991.

history-walk-2016

Pride History Walk 2016, Photo: Tereasa Maillie

1991-city-hall-crowd

Calgary Pride Parade 1991, Photo: Luke Shwart

Then on Friday the Calgary Herald published a Pride article putting the Calgary Gay History Project front and centre (thank you Val Fortney). After doing a phone interview, Val asked if they could send out a Herald photographer (ummm…). Thankfully photographer, Elizabeth Cameron, was professional and kind.

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-11-05-10-am

Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen at CommunityWise, Photo Elizabeth Cameron/Calgary Herald

And finally, Parade day – we were worried about the weather, but it proved to be less cool than we thought, and the sun even came out in the Pride Festival grounds that afternoon. We ran out of our historical button reproductions, and talked to hundreds of interested festival-goers about why Our Past Matters.

img_4489

Historic Button Reproductions that were given away at 2016 Pride

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-12-18-58-pm

Project Volunteers, Ayanna Smart & Kevin Allen, Sept 4, 2016.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. We appreciated the comments, questions, donations and kind words. We are looking forward to Pride 2017 already!

{KA}