The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions

The ArQuives's Digital Exhibitions

Explore highlights from The ArQuives’s collections of personal and organizational papers, artifacts, ephemera and more!

Conclusion and Works Cited

Halloween at the Letros and St. Charles taverns in the '50s, '60s, and '70s were extremely significant in the history of queer Toronto. They allowed people to express their gender and sexuality through drag and maneuver around the repressive and discriminatory laws.

Unfortunately, these drag shows attracted crowds of homophobic onlookers who harassed, attacked, and threw things at the patrons of the bar. Police took many years of seemingly lazy attempts to eventually effectively manage the crowds.

The LGBTQ2+ community was much more dynamic in their protection of fellow queer people, handing out educational pamphlets and organizing patrol groups.

While the St. Charles has been demolished, leaving the iconic clock tower, protected as a historic monument, Toronto queer Halloween survives and has now moved to Church Street.

Although many people in the queer community do not always feel safe walking the streets of Toronto, because of the many brave people before us, Halloween has become much safer for the LGBTQ2+ community, as we can celebrate without fear of the popular homophobic gaybashing traditions of the past.


Works Cited

Berwick, D. (1994, March 4). Life before the ghetto. XTRA!, 244, p.19.

Bradburn, J. (2015). Historicist: The egging of Yonge Street. Torontoist. Retrieved from

Dubro, J. (2016, February 3). Toronto’s Stonewall. NOW Toronto. Retrieved from

GATE. (c. 1979). Halloween on Yonge St. Poster from the CLGA archives.

Department of Justice (2017). Gender identity and gender expression. Government of Canada. Retrieved from

Hannon, G. (1981, December). Controlled crowd a Hallowe’en Treat. The Body Politic, 79, p. 11.

Irwin, N. (2007, September 23). Cherry Beach’s conflicted history. Xtra. Retrieved from

Jefferson, J. (c. 1979). Yonge Street mob shells out eggs. Globe and Mail.

MacDonald, M. (2016, April/May). Who you callin’ a golden girl? IN Magazine. p. 16.

Parkes, J. (2000, October 26). What a drag. Fab, pp. 36-7.

Rowlson, A. (2005, July 14). Rewind. Fab, pp.9-15.

TWO Magazine (1965). Halloween In Toronto queen city of Canada. TWO Magazine, 4, p. 23.

TWO Magazine (1966, March/April). Halloween ’65. TWO Magazine, 9, pp. 22-25.

Wheeler, B. (2016, February 6). ‘It’s 2016, and you can dress the way you want to dress and you can be who you want to be’. Globe and Mail. 

Conclusion and Works Cited