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The “Gay” King Edward Hotel

November 27, 2012

Over 50 Shades of Gay World Pride – as colorful as a rainbow flag – will be celebrated at The King Edward Hotel in 2014 as Toronto hosts World Pride – and my same-sex husband and I are excited! 

Whether you’re a tired old queen

or bi in-between…

a beautiful butch or daddy bear

leather lad or lipstick lesbian…

trendy tranny or tantalizing twink…

muscle mary or big and hairy…

gay and grey or gay for pay…

or just born this way…

or just simply want to party like a pink princess or prince…


The King Edward hotel is the place to stay for World Pride. Why? Because  The King Edward hotel has been host to gay “royalty” throughout its history – including myself and my husband as the first same-sex couple to have an official commitment ceremony at The King Edward Hotel.


When my husband David and I were calling around to various hotels and venues to find a place to host our commitment ceremony in 1998 (before same-sex marriage actually became legal in Ontario 2003 and in all of Canada in 2005), there were still many places that were hesitant and even confused about what we were intending to do.  However, when we contacted The King Edward Hotel, they were not just welcoming – saying right away that they would be very happy to host our memorable event – but the hotel staff went above and beyond in service and style to ensure everyone was comfortable and every part was a regal celebration – and this was way back in the 90s! This type of excellent guest service continues today.

We did legally become married in 2004, but our commitment ceremony in 1998 was more of a celebration as over 100 of our family & friends joined us in The Windsor Ballroom at The King Edward Hotel.  The photo above shows us cutting our wedding cake after an amazingly delicious eight-course dinner in which we interspersed the exchange of our vows, rings, and various toasts, speeches and stories from loved ones.

Although we may have been the first openly gay couple to celebrate in that particular open-style at the hotel, we certainly weren’t the first gay people to feel such acceptance and ease in being ourselves at the hotel – or meeting others of similar mind.

As I mentioned, The King Edward Hotel actually has a long history as being a place for gay people to meet and enjoy each others’ company.  It’s known that gay men as far back as the early 20th century – shortly after the King Edward Hotel was built in 1903 – would discreetly meet in the hotel lobby, making careful contact – since being gay was still quite illegal.  


The Toronto historian Rick Bébout has written extensively on the history of gay Toronto.  He states in one of his many books that the King Edward Hotel was well-known for gays and lesbians to meet through the years – well into and after the year 1969 when being gay was no longer considered a crime in Canada

Over on King East was The King Edward Hotel, very grand, with its Pickwick Room and Times Square Lounge serving a discreet gay clientele
Promiscuous Affections: 1971 – Rick Bébout

The following is a more in-depth video on same-sex marriage in Canada.

Gay World Pride 2014 may be two years away, but it’s never too early to start planning for a world-class and gay-friendly place to celebrate.  My same-sex husband and I definitely recommend staying at this majestic and regal hotel that has been welcoming people from the LGBT community of all stripes and colors throughout its history.  Hope to see you there!


From → history, stories

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