Ottawa LGBT History: The Village

On February 15, 2006, then city councillor Diane Holmes hosted a town hall meeting for the LGBT community seeking input from the community regarding the reconstruction of Bank Street. The meeting, with approximately 100 in attendance, makes clear there is a consensus of support for an LGBT-friendly Village designation along Bank.

Among the attendees was Glenn Crawford, who volunteered to be a community liaison with the City during the process. Although reassured by major stakeholders at the time, including the Bank Street Business Improvement Association and the City, that there is support for a Village, the formal plans for the street when presented do not include Village branding. Thus begins an over five year campaign for the designation by the community.

Crawford forms a committee with other community members including Bruce Bursey, Lee Callan, Ian Capstick, Hershel Kagan, Lauryn Kronick, Marcus McCann, Bonnie McDougall and Nicholas Sont, who organize fundraisers such as outdoor movie screenings and a Build Our Bank gala, that help pay for flags and decals that they give to businesses and organizations along Bank.

In 2010, Holmes has a prototype Village sign produced and installed by the City and along with Crawford conducts a survey of businesses and community members, who overwhelmingly support a Village designation.

A meeting with then newly elected mayor Jim Watson in 2011 results in six Village signs being permanently installed in the Village area, from Nepean to James Streets along Bank. Soon after, the Village folds into the Bank Street BIA.

Since then, more signs have been installed and a permanent rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Bank and Somerset was installed in 2016. The Village Legacy Project, which documents the history of Ottawa’s LGBT community, is launched in by the Bank Street BIA in August 2017 during Pride week and the sesquicentennial of Canada.

If you know more details about this topic, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.

Images

Map

Bank Street and James Street