Ottawa is a great place for LGBT retirement, as the city has long been at the forefront of social progress on LGBTTQ rights and public policy changes. It’s also a city filled with historic sites, art galleries, vast outdoor recreation spaces along the National Capital Greenbelt, and a thriving and active LGBTTQ community. Here are some of the highlights Ottawa offers to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, and questioning seniors.
A village with senior and LGBTTQ services at its heart
Ottawa’s “gaybourhood,” known simply as the Village, offers shopping, dining, parks, and nightlife owned by and catering to the LGBTTQ community. In the center of this downtown zone is the Centretown Community Health Centre, a non-profit that offers services for seniors, GLBT residents, and other community members. Among Centretown’s programs are drop-in exercises for seniors, outreach nursing visits to retirement homes and private homes, support for LGBT newcomers, trans health referrals, monthly coffee socials for LGBTTQ seniors, and support of the Ottawa Senior Pride Network.
Citywide support for LGBT seniors
Ottawa prides itself on creating a welcoming environment for GLBT residents, and there are extensive support networks beyond the Village to reach seniors who need help with housing, support groups, and social connections. Family Services Ottawa’s LGBTTQ+ Around the Rainbow program delivers comprehensive counseling and support for adults at all stages of life, along with senior services such as meditation classes.
The Ottawa Senior Pride Network (OSPN) is a non-profit group that brings together members of the community, local group leaders and businesspeople, and public officials to develop and improve services for LGBTTQ seniors in the city. OSPN offers cultural competence training to area senior centres; hosts an array of regular pub nights, dances, camping trips, and other social events; and has developed the Seniors Helping Seniors program that pairs active LGBTTQ senior volunteers with others who are homebound or need assistance with shopping, errands, and social connections. OSPN is also working on end-of-life care policies and developing housing resources for LGBT seniors in Ottawa.
A push for LGBT-friendly retirement housing
The City of Ottawa’s “equity and inclusion lens” outlines the ways in which the government works to provide a respectful and welcoming environment for everyone, with particular attention to the needs of the GLBT community, including housing access. LGBT-friendly long-term care homes in Ottawa include:
- Garry J Armstrong offers family-style living with private and semi-private rooms in a 7-storey building next to the Rideau River.
- Carleton Lodge provides private and shared rooms on a 12-hectare riverside campus that also features an aviary garden, vegetable gardens, and a pub.
- Centre d’accueil Champlain provides French-language care in a facility located beside and accessible to Richelieu Park.
- Peter D. Clark is the city’s newest facility, a village-style campus with easy access to Ottawa’s public transportation system.
All of the City of Ottawa’s long-term care homes offer specialized dementia care sections. Another housing option specifically founded on principles of GLBT inclusion is Abiwin Co-op, a nonprofit community in downtown Ottawa that offers affordable, wheelchair accessible housing to people of all ages and from all walks of life, including seniors, parents with children and people with pets.
Ottawa was the site of Canada’s 1st public gay and lesbian rally in 1971 and the city continues to champion LGBTTQ rights today. Between public inclusion practices, an active and outspoken community, and a busy social calendar, Ottawa offers solid options for LGBT retirement living.