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St Charles Tavern remembered

Arts & Entertainment

St Charles Tavern remembered

Pihach explores some of Toronto's past
Xtra.ca videographer Michael Pihach looked in on a Toronto People with AIDS Foundation fundraiser at Gladaman’s Den on Feb 15. In it Toronto artist George MacIntyre donated his painting of the historic St Charles Tavern to the 519 Community Centre. Pihach caught up with some of those who remember life in Toronto when the St Charles was the gay hotspot.

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In my comment above, I meant "where the Sobeys now stands"; the Burger King's been gone for a while!
Great memoir of Charlies! Bravo all involved!!
An excellent take on dear old Charlies--the first gay bar I went to in Toronto in 1970. It was truly scary those Halloween Eve's when anti-gay bashers arrived to throw eggs. I remember many people coming in were physically accosted and manhandled and the police did nothing. And it wasn't alwats just eggs! There are several scenes in the late Gordon Anderson's posthumously published novel (2006) "The Toronto You Are Leaving" (for which I wrote the Preface) that take place in Charlies. (notably the scenes where he drinks with his wild young street hustler boy friend).....James Dubro
and in praise of activists
Viewers of this video might like to know that Toronto police eventually put an end to the annual St Charles siege, but only after the Gay Alliance Toward Equality, a 1970s gay activist group, intervened.
In 1977 and again in 1978, GATE met with police to demand that they control this annual display of hatred and violence. GATE pushed the matter to a head by organizing Operation Jack o' Lantern: a street patrol, consisting of about two dozen trained people, mostly gay men and lesbians. In groups of four or five and equipped with whistles and first-aid kits, the patrols walked the streets and alleyways around the St Charles and the Parkside -- where the Burger King on Yonge now stands -- to ensure everyone's safety.
By Halloween of 1979, the St Charles mob scene was history.
in praise of older queens
We owe these folks a lot, if it wasn't for their courage in being themselves when doing so was illegal still we wouldn't have had a gay village where those of us who came later could have things much easier not to mention our legal equality in this country. Their courage at such a time should be applauded and always remembered so that we may always have the courage to be ourselves today when we have it so much easier thanks to them.
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