A magenta graphic of Hanlan's Point.

Queer Spaces

A magenta graphic of Hanlan's Point.

Queer Spaces, 2023 Public History Award nominee. Image courtesy of Toronto Society of Architects.

A graphic of two historic buildings one in magenta the other in black. The caption reads, "black for queer spaces that have been lost and magenta for those that are still here today.

Queer Spaces, 2023 Public History Award nominee. Image courtesy of Toronto Society of Architects.

A group of people holding signs. The main sign says TSA Toronto Soceity of Architects

Queer Spaces Pride Parade image, 2023 Public History Award nominee. Image courtesy of Kurtis Chen.

Project Lead: Toronto Society of Architects

Project Website 

Date of Release: June 26, 2022

Queer Spaces is both a research project and public education campaign sharing the relationship between Toronto’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community and the built environment through unconventional and highly engaging formats and events. The project began with the Toronto Society of Architects’ Pride Committee, a group of queer-identifying volunteers from the architecture community. Formed after our participation in the 2019 Pride Parade and looking to fill a gap in the architectural narrative of Toronto, the Committee aimed to explore the evolution of 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces and the queer community’s contributions to Toronto’s architecture.

Through academic research, interviews, and group discussions, Queer Spaces emerged as a compilation of spaces and stories—often fragmented but always captivating—that together reveal how the gay liberation movement and our understandings of gender and sexual identity have made themselves evident, if not always easily appreciable, in the built environment.

Rather than a publication or lecture, Queer Spaces made its debut as a float in the 2022 Toronto Pride Parade: proudly celebrating and remembering queer spaces of past and present through 40 eye-catching, large-scale drawings made into protest signs drawn and built by community volunteers. The float was accompanied by a social media friendly virtual guide providing additional information on each of the spaces marching down Yonge Street.

Additional Project Members: 

Joel Leon: Programming Director and Contributor

Kurtis Chen: Pride Executive Co-Lead

Janice Miyagi, Tanvi Kundliwal, Simon Liao, Samantha Bite, Eric Wang: Pride Committee Members

Joel Leon: Programming Director

Charmain Wong: Administrator

Rebecca Ford: Programming Assistant

Desiree Armstrong: Administrator

Spencer Lu: student researcher

Special thanks to all community members who helped create the signs during the community build day and to members of the Carpenters Union Local 27 who marched with the group and participated in the build day.