Celebrating Pride with a look at our rich LGBTQ+ scene

published on August 3, 2023
Montréal Partners Tourisme Montréal: News and People What's New in Montréal

Walk the streets of Montréal’s Village, and you’re not only in North America’s largest official LGBTQ+ villages, but also one of its oldest. That said, Montréal’s LGBTQ+ identity isn’t limited by any neighbourhood borders. Long an LGBTQ+ haven with a signature welcoming spirit and a rich history of championing human rights and trendsetting activism, Montréal’s vibrant joie de vivre reflects every colour of the rainbow.

A quick his/her/theirstory

The first known gay business in North America was a cake and apple shop owned by Montréal’s Moise Tellier, registered in 1869. Since then, Montréal’s gay population has made its mark city-wide, in the process building one of the world’s most important LGBTQ+ havens. Today, Sainte-Catherine Street through the heart of Montréal’s downtown and through the Village transforms into a bustling pedestrian-only zone in the summer months, under an impressively colourful canopy — an annual attraction for tourists and locals alike.

A timeline of LGBTQ+ milestones in Montréal

1958 – Men dance together openly for the first time in Montréal nightclubs.

1967 – The Pierre Elliott Trudeau government introduces the Omnibus Bill, proclaiming, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Homosexuality and transexuality are decriminalized.

1969 – Private consensual same-sex activity is proclaimed legal.

1977 – The province of Québec becomes the first jurisdiction to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation with the amendment of the Québec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

1992 – The ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military in Québec is lifted as of January 1, 1992.

1998 – Montréal hosts the IGLTA Annual Convention (and again in 2007).

2003 – The 22nd World InterPride Conference gathers international activists in Montréal (returning to the city for its AGM in 2013).

2004 – Québec introduces legal civil unions, with the rest of Canada following by 2005. Same-sex adoption is also legal as of November, 2004.

2006 – Montréal plays host to the 1st World Outgames. That same year, the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights comes to Montréal.

2007 – Fierté Montréal Pride is the new face of Montréal’s annual Pride festivities, quickly becoming a major point of the annual Pride calendar.

2009 – Québec is the first province in Canada to adopt an official policy and action plan to fight homophobia in society.

2015 – Québec makes it legal to change a person’s legal gender, without the requirement of sexual reassignment surgery.

2017 – LGBT discrimination in Québec is proclaimed illegal in the Québec Charter of Human Rights (as well as Gender Identity and expression federally under Bill C-16).

A city of celebration

Montréal’s annual Pride celebrations are held in August, gathering nearly 3-million LGBTQ+ revellers to the city. Punctuated by its famed dance parties held in leafy Parc des Faubourgs (with a killer view of the Jacques Cartier Bridge), Montréal Pride’s annual line-up of superstar DJs, drag artists, musicians and other diverse performers punctuates the end of the summer with a rainbow exclamation mark.

The rest of the year plays host to LGBTQ+ festivals and programming ranging from the annual image+nation (Canada’s oldest and longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival) to the Suoni per il Popolo Festival that brings intriguing and innovative musicians of all genders and orientations to the city for three weeks in June, with additional special events throughout the year. A uniquely colourful underground scene also plays a big part in the city’s LGBTQ+ identity, with a slew of parties and performances the whole year round.

All in all, Montréal is full of pride, all year long.


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