Discover unsung heroes
Vancouver is home to Davie Street, one of North America’s most vibrant gay villages. Our city’s annual PRIDE parade draws crowds in the tens of thousands. Our city has openly gay politicians and monuments to gay activists. But it wasn’t always this way…
Meet the unsung heroes of Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community who forever changed the social fabric of our country. From the steps of the courthouse where an infamous drag queen fought for federal decriminalization to the chapel where the United Church of Canada ordained their first openly gay minister, Vancouver has played a larger-than-life role in the queer liberation movement.
Researched, designed, and guided by Forbidden Vancouver guide Glenn Tkach, the Really Gay History Tour weaves a colourful history of people and events that set the stage for the inclusive society we all now enjoy. For members of the LGBTQ2+ community and allies alike this is a must-do experience. So join Glenn as you laugh, cry, celebrate and feel true PRIDE on the Really Gay History Tour.
The walking tour
Meeting outside Vancouver City Centre Skytrain Station, the walking tour first visits the historic Hotel Vancouver to talk beer parlours and clandestine gay meetups. Across the street you’ll learn the strange case of Rex vs Singh at the old courthouse, now the Vancouver Art Gallery. Next you’ll cut through Robson Square to Granville Street, once home to the city’s very first gay bars.
Weaving a path through Imperial Court coronations, drag kings at the Quadra, gay struggle at the United Church, Patient Zero and Nelson Park, you’ll find yourself in the gaybourhood on Davie Street.
The walking tour strolls the historic West End as you discover protests, bookstore bombings, Jim Deva Plaza, a transgender campaigner who blew the whistle on the biggest crime in Vancouver history, Vancouver’s secret gay village, and the remarkable story of two-spirited warrior Gone to the Spirits.
You’ll finish in the heart of the historic Davie Street village with its wonderful array of bars and restaurants. The perfect place to enjoy a post-walking tour cocktail!
The Really Gay History Tour is a Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours presentation researched and designed by storyteller Glenn Tkach with support from company founder Will Woods. Glenn and Will would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this project, including Vancouver PRIDE, the Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours storyteller team, everyone at Vancouver Mysteries, Roxanne Kalenborn, Kaschelle Thiessen, Ron Dutton, David Reid at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Tom Carter, Maurice Guibord, Neil Whaley, Jamie Lee Hamilton, Drew Dickinson, Crema, Lani Russwurm, Robert Wegrzyn, Heather Farquhar, Kiri Marr Photography, Gary Patterson, Tim Stevenson, and to all the people who never gave up the fight.