JENZA Paper Tear
Profile Image
JENZA_Logo_Black@300x.png
BlogHeader-toronto-queer-village.png

Travel Guides / Canada

5 must visit destinations in the Toronto Queer Village

Where to shop, bop and get some grub in Toronto's most welcoming neighbourhood.

JENZA Paper Tear

Hey travellers! I'm Andre, a Toronto native here to fill you in on my favourite area of Toronto - Church-Wellesley Village, also known as Toronto’s Queer Village.

It's truly one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods. Day and night, there are countless activities to experience in the heart of Toronto’s LGBTQI+ community hub. Here are some of my favourite stops in the Village, no matter the occasion of your visit.

Glad Day Bookshop

If, like me, you have a tendency to stop in small bookshops whenever you pass by them just to see what hidden gems you can find – you're going to love Glad Day. It’s a quaint local bookshop with an impressive collection of books written by queer authors or focused on LGBTQI+ topics with an emphasis on supporting local artists. They carry a variety of gift items and merch, a wide range of art prints, pins & patches, greeting cards and more. They also boast hosting Canada’s longest-running weekly Drag Brunch every Sunday, offering up more than books on your Sunday mornings. Don’t forget to check out their Staff Picks for new releases and recommendations to add to your reading list.

Craig's Cookies

An absolute must-stop for me is Craig’s Cookies. I mean the clue is in the name – cookies! Craig’s Cookies was founded by an openly queer man, Craig Pike, who has made a commitment to maintaining a safe environment for queer and trans employees and customers alike. Every flavour combination on their menu is a homerun and honestly worth trying. There are some truly adventurous and decadent flavours available among their 100+ current varieties. Amongst those options, some of my favourites include Birthday, Brownie and The OG Mix. Full disclosure - their menu is entirely cookie-based and does not contain any gluten-free or vegan-friendly options. But for those without any of the aforementioned dietary restrictions, gobble up as many cookies as you can.

O'Grady's on Church

O’Grady’s is an Irish-style pub in the heart of the Village serving up tons of delicious bar favourites. A classic is the timeless banquet burger, called the O’Grady’s Burger on the menu, oh and the Nachos – I suggest adding the pulled pork to really enhance your experience. On the drinks side of the menu, they offer lots of beers and ciders, most of which are local craft brands. But my go-to is their sangria with tons of fresh fruity flavours to quench your thirst. To round out any visit to O’Grady’s, be sure to catch one of their many shows throughout the week. From Drag Brunch to Open Mic Night to Dirty Bingo, O’Grady’s has a full schedule of regular events on all through the week making it a great spot to make friends too.

Crews & Tangoes

Talk about a staple in the Toronto Village. Known as the #1 Drag Bar in Toronto, Crews & Tangos (known colloquially as Crews) is probably one of the first bars many young queer people venture to when they come of age in the city. Crews has always felt like a magical queer fun-house to me – the exterior is immediately recognizable: a bright blue painted Victorian-style facade with trippy murals and countless pride flags extending from above the painted-over bay windows. On the inside, there are two floors to explore: most nights drag shows take centre stage on the main floor; while upstairs is a wall-to-wall dance party. In true fun-house fashion, Crews is a dizzying experience in the best way possible. From the booming music and club lighting to the larger-than-life drag personalities commanding the stage, Crews is always a good time.

Side note - with plans for development within Church & Wellesley Village on the horizon, there has been some uncertainty regarding the long term future of Crews & Tangos. But for now, Crews is a destination everyone should make a priority to visit at least once, especially before any impending changes to their location.

BlogImage1_Andre_QueerVillage.png

Taking home the goods

BlogImage2_Andre_QueerVillage.png

Plant based burger joint

BlogImage3_Andre_QueerVillage.png

Crews bar in the village

A laptop sits at the edge of the water

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andre Henry

Guest contributor from Toronto

A Toronto native, Andre loves travelling to new places or trying out new spots in his own backyard. As DJ KC Decker by night, you'll find him exploring different festivals and music venues as well as enjoying delicious local eats.

"From the booming music and club lighting to the larger-than-life drag personalities commanding the stage, Crews is always a good time."

Soy Boys

If you’ve followed all my previous recommendations like a map through the Village from daytime to nightfall, then Soy Boys is the perfect last stop on this mini-tour. Soy Boys cooks up incredible plant-based burgers until the wee hours of the night, so it makes the perfect post-Crews/post-dancing late-night eats destination. By eating your burger you’re doing good too - the true beauty of Soy Boys is their initiative to plant one tree in Madagascar for every burger sold. They’ve partnered with the Eden Reforestation Project to help combat deforestation.

As a non-vegan, I was honestly shocked the first time I tried a Soy Boys burger. The flavour is so satisfying as you’re strolling out of the bars after last call. They keep it simple: burgers (single or double patties), waffle fries (add house sauce to the side for only $0.50), and soft-serve (vanilla, pineapple or twist). The only downside is that with their understandable popularity, the wait for food usually runs around 10+ minutes.

Food for thought

I highly recommend travellers – regardless of their sexual orientation or experience, visit Church-Wellesley Village on their next trip to Toronto. It is an extremely lively and inviting pocket of Toronto, any day of the year. With Pride month all wrapped up in Toronto, I like to remind travellers that as warm and welcoming as the Village is, to also be cognizant of the spaces they are occupying. Pride is ultimately a celebration for all, but it began as a response to the necessity of safe spaces for queer people and maintaining those today is extremely vital to the queer community.

If Canada sounds like the safe space you're keen to explore, chat to the JENZA Support Squad today to talk through your options.

InstaUs_JENZA.png

A laptop sits at the edge of the water

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andre Henry

Guest contributor from Toronto

A Toronto native, Andre loves travelling to new places or trying out new spots in his own backyard. As DJ KC Decker by night, you'll find him exploring different festivals and music venues as well as enjoying delicious local eats.

JENZA_OfferBanner_PLACEHOLDER_1920x500.jpg
JENZA Paper Tear

We do the work

Earn as you explore

Been inspired to take it offline and on the road? Bar the flights and arranging your leaving do, our team do everything you need to get there. From visa support to bank account set up and finding a job.

JENZA Paper Tear
JENZA Paper Tear
JENZA_Logo_Black@300x.png
WYSETC_negative.png
YouTubeIcon_White.svgTikTokIcon_White.svgInstagramIcon_White .svg

Privacy Policy

JENZA Travel International Ltd is a company registered in Dublin, Ireland with Registered Company No. 707281 and registered address at 29-31 South William St, Dublin, Ireland, D02 EY96.