History Slam 185: Ottawa’s LGBTQ2+ History & the Village Legacy Project

By Sean Graham

In 2011, a section of Bank Street in downtown Ottawa was designated The Village to commemorate the city’s LGBTQ2+ history. To denote The Village, there are street signs, pride flags, and a permanent rainbow intersection at the corner of Bank and Somerset. In addition to the designation, the Bank Street Business Improvement Association commissioned a project to collect and share the neighbourhood’s history. The result is the Village Legacy Project, a website and app that profiles the places, people, and events that have come to shape the LGBTQ2+ community in Ottawa.

In this episode of the History Slam, I explore the Village Legacy Project. Before heading out to downtown Ottawa, I chat with Glenn Crawford, who led the project. We talk about the project’s origins, the research process, and what people can expect when they use the app. I then head to Bank Street and explore what the project has to offer by visiting a few of the sites included in the app.

Original Bank St. Diversity Mural which was painted over in 2021. Photo credit Glenn Crawford

Current mural at the corner of Bank and Nepean

The Village street sign at the corner of Bank and James

Wrap on a power box as park of the Village Legacy Project

Sean Graham is a historian with Parks Canada, an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University, and a contributing editor with Activehistory.ca

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Blog posts published before October  28, 2018 are licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.

Please note: ActiveHistory.ca encourages comment and constructive discussion of our articles. We reserve the right to delete comments submitted under aliases, or that contain spam, harassment, or attacks on an individual.