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Québec is known for its openness and remarkable joie de vivre. Tourists from the LGBTQ community around the world enjoy the freedom and safety they experience when they visit. Québec also keeps visitors coming back for its beautiful nature, uniquely charming cities, major festivals, museums and art galleries, gourmet restaurants and countless shopping options, not to mention the vibrant nightlife!
A pioneer for equal rights, Québec was one of the world’s first jurisdictions to prohibit all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Homosexuality was decriminalized and removed from the Criminal Code of Canada in 1969 and is now listed in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms as a prohibited ground of discrimination. In June 2002, the National Assembly of Québec unanimously passed a law recognizing civil unions between same-sex couples. This new law also gave same-sex couples the legal freedom to adopt children or seek assisted reproduction. Québec’s LGBTQ community members now enjoy the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.
Two major cities
The world’s large urban centres often tend to be major hubs for the LGBTQ community. In Québec, Montréal and Québec City are two hotspots of LGBTQ events.
Montréal, the world’s second-largest French-speaking city, boasts a large gay district, the Gay Village. Located on Sainte-Catherine Street between Berri and Cartier, the Village is home to shops, terraces, over 60 restaurants and a couple dozen bars. From May to September, it becomes a pedestrian-only strip during the event Airs Libres. An impressive installation of multicoloured balls representing the rainbow flag hangs over the street, adding to the festive ambiance. Along the main strip, Galerie Blanc hosts an open-air exhibit of four different artists that you can peruse day and night.
In Québec City, you’ll spot the rainbow flags of rue Saint-Jean in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste neighbourhood, home to most of the capital’s LGBTQ businesses. The bustling area features cafés, restaurants and shops. Le Drague Cabaret Club is Québec City’s most well-known LGBTQ bar.
It’s no secret that Quebecers like a good party, the LGBTQ community included. In late June in Montréal, over 200 visual artists take over the Village for the event Mtl en Arts to display their latest works in an open-air exhibition. Early August marks the annual Montréal Pride parade, where almost a million spectators come to watch the carnivalesque festivities. This dazzling parade is the final event of the popular Pride Festival. In September, the colourful Québec City Pride Festival celebrates gay pride in the capital. Held the same month in Montréal is Image+Nation, Canada’s oldest LBGTQ film festival, and one of its biggest, screening over 200 films. In October, you can attend the Black & Blue Festival, an inclusive festival celebrating the gay community with a series of raves and events and wrapping up with the legendary Black & Blue party.
LGBTQ vacations in Québec
You don’t have to venture far from the city to explore the beautiful outdoors. Not far from Montréal, you can find a variety of vacation resorts in the Laurentians and the Eastern Townships, including ski centres. Every region in Québec has its own natural parks offering a range of seasonal activities. The St. Lawrence River that traverses the province also provides a majestic setting for cruises and whale-watching expeditions. The various regions of Québec have a wide range of accommodation options for all tastes and budgets. Some hotels and campsites even cater specifically to the LGBTQ clientele.