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Toronto

CN Tower


With one of the largest gay populations in North America, Toronto's gay village is a large area bordered by the streets Bloor, Yonge, Jarvis and Carlton, where you will find establishments for every taste. The main intersection is at Church and Wellesley, seen below, with the steps in front of the Second Cup coffee shop being a focal point for the community. There are many trendy little eateries with patios along the strip.


Church and Wellesley


Church Street is where a lot of the external shoots for QAF took place. On the show, they call it Liberty Avenue. In Toronto, the production team for QAF would sometimes close off sections of Church Street or other streets in the village for filming. This was a great opportunity for aspiring actors and fans alike to come down to the set to be 'extras' for a day, or even watch the action from a distance. Many of the pictures featured here were taken by our roving photographers, Linda, Theresa and Kristin, who made the QAF rounds for us... thanks, ladies! Also thanks to Danny for supplying a few photos from season 3.


First, let's swing by the Dufferin Gate studios, where Temple Street Productions has their headquarters. Most of the interior sets for QAF were located here, at 20 Butterick Road in Toronto. Additional sets were built at a remote location when production increased and more space was needed. The warehouse that was used to house these additional sets was the location for the QAF set sale at the end of season 5, when thousands of items were sold to fans, bargain hunters and collectors alike.

Dufferin Gate


6 Church StreetNext, let's head over to Brian's loft. The building that was used for exterior shots in the first couple of seasons is located at 6 Church Street. For filming, the address on the glass window pane was changed, and an intercom/buzzer was added to the brick facade.


Here are a few wider shots... think he's home?


6 Church Street

Loft

Loft

Loft

In many scenes where a character is seen driving, the car is actually being pulled... like in this scene, where Gale Harold (Brian) gets to sit back and enjoy the ride. Fun!Jeep


Remember when Justin got his nipple pierced in episode 107? Randy Harrison and Makyla Smith were here on location at 604 Yonge Street to shoot the scene. Yonge Street Tattoos is pictured below:

Yonge Street Tattoos

Here's a picture of the exterior of the building that houses Gold's Gym, used in the first two seasons... look closely, and you might catch a glimpse of Emmett or Ted on one of the Stairmasters in the window above the McDonald's! ;)

Gold's Gym

Now take a look at the new digs where the boys work out... much improved! The Ript Gym is located at 258 Esplanade (East end of the walkway) at Beverley Street.

Gym

The Metropolitan United Church at 56 Queen Street East is where Joan Kinney's church exterior shoots were filmed.

Seneca College in North York is where some of the school interiors were shot for both Justin as a student, and Ben as a professor.


Woody's

Just like the famous Cheers pub in Boston, the bar that fans of QAF know as Woody's is an actual establishment, located at 467 Church Street, between Maitland and Alexander, in the heart of Toronto's Boystown, which is currently Toronto's busiest gay men's bar (women are always welcome too!).

Woody's Awning

The exterior of Woody's has a large red awning with a Rhino logo, as seen on the show. A DJ spins an eclectic selection of tunes every night, from '70s disco to alternative. Every Tuesday is 'Bad Boys' Night Out'; Thursday nights' Best Chest contest has become an institution, and Sunday nights the club hosts live drag shows and contests; guests have included Dame Edna, Liza Minelli, and Barbra Streisand (or at least it looked like them! *g*).

Attached to Woody's is Sailor, at 465 Church Street. It's a cooler, quieter bar with comfortable chairs, romantic lighting and an Ocean-Liner and Naval theme decor. Sailor has a large screen TV that is always showing the world's hottest men. Woody's & Sailor are also known for their weekend brunch (cheap!), and are always popular with the after work and pre-night club crowds. In addition to Woody's and Sailor, check out the other bars on Church Street like Crews, Tango and The Zone for nightly entertainment. Many of the performers at these clubs have appeared on Queer As Folk at one time or another, and can often share their personal experiences!

fly There is a club called Babylon at 533 Church Street in Toronto, with three floors of hip and funky ambience and over 250 martinis... but it's not the Babylon we used to see on QAF. For the first season of QAF, the exterior and entrance to Babylon were really those of a dance club called fly located at 8 Gloucester, near the corner of Gloucester and Yonge. The back alley is located on the right-hand side of the building, toward the rear (no pun intended). Next door to fly is Olympic 76 Pizza. Last season, QAF built a new set for Babylon on their own lot.

flypassport

At 9500 square feet, the interior of fly is smaller than it appears on television. There are 14 foot ceilings on the third level, which is the balcony. During filming, extra lights and two dancer platforms were brought in.

guvernmentGuvernment is described as 'a pretty club that attracts pretty people who like to mix it up.' It is located at 132 Queens Quay E. at Jarvis St. (by the Waterfront) and has a rooftop patio. QAF used this club when it needed more room than fly would allow (until they built the Babylon set). The twin-level, 22,000 square foot building hosts three different rooms with three separate sound systems and DJs. The club is open Thursday and Friday from 10:00pm to 3:00am, and on Saturday from 10:00pm to 6:00am. The neighbouring Warehouse is Guvernment's live music annex, but also has dancing several days a week.

The comic book store where Michael bought his earlier Captain Astro paraphernalia is a real store called 1,000,000 Comix, and is located at 513B Yonge Street. The store that he bought from Buzzy was filmed at 607 Queen Street West. It is normally called "Cosmos" record store but its secret identity is "Red Cape Comics".

The Seduction Erotic Boutique at 577 Yonge Street is the sex shop where Ted bought the "elephant trunk" for Michael.

The scene where Brian and Michael are standing on the ledge of the hospital in Episode 101 was filmed on location, on the ledge of an actual building right near the corner of University Avenue and Front Street.

The Flatiron (Gooderham) Building is located at 49 Wellington St E., at Yonge, which is just north of where Brian's loft building was located (6 Church Street). You might recognize it from the beginning of season one, when Brian raced his Jeep down the street, shortly after dropping Justin off at school, and yelled, "Faggot!" to echo the pink graffiti spray-painted on the side door:

Building

Melanie and Lindsay's house exteriors were shot at 178 Crawford Street (Northwest corner of Crawford Street and Lobb Avenue), North of Queen Street W. Debbie's House is also nearby, at 87 Crawford Street (both of these locations are private homes - please respect the owners' privacy).

At one time, the Liberty Diner exteriors were filmed down the street from the Lesbian Lair, on the Northeast corner of Queen Street West and Crawford Street (892 Queen Street West); after the real "Swan" restaurant space was renovated, however, QAF switched to a new exterior at 354 King Street East (at Power), just east of Parliament Street. This is the new location for the exterior of the Liberty Diner:

Diner

Some of the external park scenes were filmed at Trinity-Bellwood Park, 850 West Queen Street. We've seen many characters take walks here:

Park

The exteriors for Michael and Ben's apartment were filmed at 7 Glen Road (North of Howard Street):

Michael and Ben's

Michael and Ben's

The stairs that Hunter sat on when he ran away:

Stairs



A few other places to look for...

519 Church Street Community Centre has the 'in' with what's happening in the gay district. Most coffee houses and bars in the Church Street area carry the local publications where you can find specific information about events and special nights going on in the city.

Contrary to its once-pious reputation as "Toronto the Good," a distinct naughty side has grown up over the years around the city's gay club scene. Club-going women generally favor Pope Joan, in an attractive redbrick building a short walk east of the main gay scene. It has separate floors for dancing, shooting pool, and live cabaret and theater. The House of Parliament Pub is more low-keyed, great for shooting darts and quaffing pints. Slack Alice draws an upscale crowd of lipstick lesbians, laid-back guys, and some straights. It's pretty crazy on weekends (patrons have been known to dance atop the bar) but low-keyed otherwise. The mixed-gender Crews Inn/Tango has an upstairs room with the usual bar games - it's generally the more lesbian section of the place. Downstairs there's a bar on one side, cabaret on the other. For a great dance venue with a large dance floor check out Boots warehouse.

As leather bars go, the Black Eagle is the most laid-back and mainstream, the Toolbox more hard-core. Both are exceptionally cruisy, as is the super-popular Barn/Stables complex, which has three floors of mingling and dancing with a crowd that spans ages and styles, from Levi's to Banana Republic. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre/Tallulah's Cabaret is a theater that produces alternative and gay/lesbian shows, and more - on some nights it's a disco, with the stage turned into a dance floor. Of the Church Street bars, 501 feels the most like a big rec room - a place to shoot pool or play video games.

On the site of a few gay bars of yore, 5ive is a fabulous club drawing an ultra-stylish crowd. It's not a huge space, but a lot of people cram in here on weekends (the line extends well down the block). Fly is the Friday and Saturday-night circuit party. Here club bunnies and muscle queens pile in here from about 10 or 11 p.m. on and keep going into the wee hours. There's a large dance floor, an overlooking balcony, and a mellower room on the first level that's nice for chilling out. Swanky, mixed-gay/straight bar Babylon serves more than 200 kinds of martinis, including one called a purple nipple (vodka and cassis). Byzantium is a more corporate establishment with its upscale atmosphere, great food and martinis. Woody's/Sailor has long been the city's main stand-and-model bar, a rambling tavern with about a half-dozen bars and rooms, lots of video screens, and about 1,000 photos, posters, and drawings on the walls.

Red Spot is a dark, seductive lounge with big, cushy seats; top-notch cabaret and music acts perform here, from comedians to swing jazz combos. Zelda's has a huge patio that packs them in on warm days and evenings. You can eat here, but the point is more to socialize. Wilde Oscars is more of a sit-down spot, excellent for pre-dinner drinks and casual dining; it has a very popular patio. Also consider Zipperz piano bar just off Church Street; Carrington's, where gay sports teams often convene; and Remington's, known for its bare-all male strippers. The Second Cup on Church Street is the definitive post-party coffee-and-cruise scene. After the bars close, you can expect a long line.

A long-running favorite of in the trendy College Street area is El Convento Rico, which gets a mostly Latino and mostly gay but increasingly varied crowd - in age, gender, and style. Nearby mixed hetero/homo hangouts include Caio, Edie - known for its retro furnishings and foofy drinks, and the red-vinyl-clad 52 Inc. If good food is what you're after, try chic Byzantium for stellar Mediterranean cooking or simply for cocktails (it has its own martini menu). A long-time fixture in the gay community, the quirky Living Well bistro and lounge is a place to shoot pool, imbibe, socialize, and munch on nouvelle eclectic fare. Il Fornello - a local, upscale pizza-and-pasta chain that donates big bucks to AIDS and other noteworthy causes - is a must for gourmet 'zas. Fatgirl is a way-hip basement space in Cabbagetown, ideal for sushi, creative Chinese food, and other world-beat cooking, including addictive jerk-chicken wings. Come to Green Mango for incredibly cheap and filling Thai food - you can completely immobilize yourself for under $5. Azul, in the Queen Street neighborhood, offers healthful food with an emphasis on veggies, plus fruit juices and smoothies.

As with Montreal and to a slightly lesser extent Vancouver, Toronto takes its sexual venues seriously. There are several licensed bathhouses and sex clubs, among the most popular being Barracks, which gets the leather crowd; and the St. Marc Spa, which has the most eclectic crowd of the bunch, in both age and look.

[Source: Q online - "TRAVEL: Toronto by Night," by Andrew Collins, author of many gay guides for Fodor's.]


Gay Theatre

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Company (BIBT) was established and incorporated in Toronto, 1979 and is North America's premiere gay and lesbian theatre company. They are located at 12 Alexander Street in Toronto.

Gay and Lesbian culture grew historically out of unconventional venues: the Beat coffee houses and speakeasies of the Fifties and Sixties; the bathhouses of the Seventies; and the drag bars and performance art spaces of the East Village in Manhattan in the Eighties. Queer culture must continue to search for expression that stands outside of the mainstream light to allow an edgier, more challenging style of creation.


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