VLP Community Heroes Portrait Gallery

Walk through the Village and discover 43 icons, activists, rebels and heroes who, among many others, helped build Ottawa queer community from the ground up from the very beginning of the liberation movement on.

The Village Legacy Project is proud to acknowledge and recognize the hard work, dedication and contribution these community leaders achieved in our new banner series, illustrated by Glenn Crawford and installed on lampposts along Bank Street from Nepean to James in August of 2018.

Barry Deeprose

Barry has been active in the gay community in Ottawa since 1979, when he joined the Board of Gays of Ottawa, Ottawa’s first gay liberation organization. He was a counsellor on the Gayline, (a peer-counselling service) for 22 years. He served on the…

Gabriella Goliger

Gabriella Goliger came out as a lesbian in the fall of 1981 and dove into community activities with both feet soon afterwards. Her first volunteering was on the Gayline, having received some excellent training from Barry Deeprose. The Gayline…

Barbara Freeman

Barb Freeman came out in 1975, mostly through activities at the Ottawa Women’s Center, where she was a regular at the weekly lesbian drop in and also of Lesbians of Ottawa Now (LOON). Working as a radio journalist and then journalism professor, she…

Rose Stanton

Rose Stanton was twenty years old and pregnant in 1974 when she sublet a house in Centretown Ottawa from the Ottawa Women’s Centre. The sublet led to an invitation to the centre’s first anniversary party. The party was Rose’s first encounter with…

Marion Steele

Marion relocated to Ottawa with her three youngest children in 1997 from Owen Sound Ontario where she had served on the start up committees of the HIV/AIDS Committee of Grey Bruce, the Grey-Bruce Women’s Centre, the Lesbian Mothers Group and the…

John Fisher

John Fisher was Executive Director of EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere). John holds the degrees of B.A., LL.B. (Hons) (Auck.) and LL.M. (Queen's), where he wrote his thesis on lesbian and gay rights under international law. He…

Lyle Borden

Lyle Borden moved to Ottawa in the fall of 1981 with his partner from Halifax N.S. Shortly after settling here, he became involved with Gays of Ottawa by teaching self-defence classes to the community. This was in response to the increasing violent…

Amanda Ryan

Amanda Ryan has been actively educating and lobbying on behalf of Ottawa's Trans Community for more than a decade. In addition to her work with Gender Mosaic, she is the co-organizer of Gal's Spring Fling—an annual Trans conference where…

Eileen Murphy and Kathi Sansom

Eileen Murphy - d. 2015 Kathi Sansom - 1940—2008 “Eileen Murphy supported every committee in the community and was often our greeter at our monthly meetings,” said Gary Leger on Murphy's passing in 2015. In a statement to Daily Xtra, Ottawa…

Denis LeBlanc

Gay activist, twenty year volunteer with Gays of Ottawa; co-author of Gays and the Law, founding member of the Coalition for Lesbian & Gay Rights in Ontario and the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Rights Coalition, recipient of the John Damien Award…

Yvon Vaillant

Yvon A. Vaillant Yvon was born on Feb. 12th 1947 in the rural community of Ste-Cécile de Masham, now called La Pêche, close to Lac Phillippe and Wakefield. He lived there until he was thirteen years old and then went to a boarding school run by ''Les…

Kevin Hatt

Kevin Hatt is an HIV+ gay man who since 1996 proudly calls Ottawa home. For many years he has volunteered with various community agencies in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Moncton and Halifax. Kevin has served as a Director with the Board of the AIDS…

Nicole LaViolette

1963—2015 Nicole LaViolette and her partner Lise Hébert were both intimately involved in the Capital Rainbow Refuge (CRR), an activist legal group founded by LaViolette that works to support sexual minorities seeking to flee persecution in their…

Charlie Hill

Charlie Hill is a native of Ottawa. He was the first president of the University of Toronto Homophile Association 1969-1971. On August 28, 1971, Charlie was one of several speakers at the first ever LGBT rights demonstration in Canada, on…

Carroll Holland

1942—2012 Like many women of her pioneering generation, Carroll Holland came out relatively late in life – near age 40 – and only after much inner struggle. But once past that hurdle, she embraced lesbian pride and community activism with her…

Bruce Bursey

Bruce moved to Ottawa from Newfoundland in 1984, beginning his life in Centretown. In the 1990s, as a resident and community activist, he was Co-chair, of the Centretown Traffic Calming Working Group, the first successful introduction of traffic…

Paul-François Sylvestre

Paul-François Sylvestre est un écrivain originaire du Sud-Ouest ontarien. Il a fait ses études secondaires et universitaires à Ottawa. Vers 1974 Paul-François se joint à Gays of Ottawa / Gais de l’Outaouais (GO); il en devient le président en 1978.…

Judy Girard

In late 70’s, Judy Girard joined the Board of Directors of Gays of Ottawa, as one of the few women on the Board. Her primary role on the Board was to take the lead in negotiating with Revenue Canada, with the assistance of their lawyer, on the…

Alex Munter

Alex Munter was the national capital region's first openly-gay elected representative. First elected in 1991, he served four terms as a local councillor in Ottawa. He represented Kanata, chaired council committees responsible for health and…

Kerry Beckett

When Kerry Beckett moved from Smiths Falls, a small town just outside Ottawa, in the 70's, she was already an out dyke. According to Kerry, back then there was no doubt about how to find like-minded women... she found a softball game and joined.…

Marie Robertson

Marie Robertson is an outspoken lipstick lesbian. A community activist since 1970, Marie has never been afraid to rock the boat and challenge both those within and outside the LGBT community. For many years she was one of the few publicly out…

John Duggan

John Duggan grew up on an Ontario farm, moved to Ottawa in 1970 and became involved in Gays of Ottawa (GO) in 1974. At GO, John worked tirelessly on the peer-counselling, public education, and political action committees; wrote for GO’s newspaper (…

Carmen Paquette

Carmen is a Franco-Ontarian feminist, who, for almost three decades, has purposefully bridged different social movements in Canada and internationally. Carmen's history of accomplishments in the Ottawa LGBT community includes significant roles…