Toronto is considered one of the world’s best cities for LGBTQ living and it offers a growing number of social and support resources for seniors in the LGBTQ community. Retirement in Toronto can take many forms, from an urban life in the city centre to an outdoorsy lifestyle that takes advantage of the city’s many green spaces and activity groups—or a combination of both. We’ve put together an overview of Toronto’s major programs, clubs, and cultural options for LGBTQ retirees.
Connecting to the community through Senior Pride and The 519
At the heart of the city’s LGBTQ community is The 519 Church Street Community Centre (“The 519”), a city agency that offers a comprehensive suite of programs for LGBTQ residents and their loved ones at all stages of life. The group also leads workshops and consults with local businesses and care providers to help them develop culturally competent service for members of the LGBTQ community.
Social groups for retirees at The 519 include book groups for men and women age 50 and up, a mixed-voice chorus group that’s open to anyone without an audition, and a weekly drop-in program on Monday afternoons to give older adults a chance to socialize, enjoy special events, and learn more about what’s going on locally.
The 519 also partners with the Senior Pride Network, a national group headquartered in Toronto that works to expand inclusion and strengthen communities of LGBTQ people in the city and across Canada. Social dances, conferences on elder care, and advocacy training are all on offer, along with a long list of senior resources around the city for First Nations LGBTQ people and people living with HIV as well as health and wellness, public policy, and home-care and mental-health support services for seniors in need.
Progressive housing programs for LGBT seniors
The City of Toronto supports a number of long-term care homes and community care services for its seniors, and the city is responding to community needs by working to provide more LGBTQ-friendly housing and care. Its LGBT Toolkit is a guide for retirement home staffers to create a safe and welcoming environment, and all 10 of the city’s care homes “are LGBT inclusive and deliver care in a manner that respects each individual’s rights and beliefs.”
The best-known of the city’s retirement homes is Fudger House, a recently renovated community of 250 seniors that’s multi-cultural, LGBTQ-positive, and located in a vibrant downtown neighbourhood near many gay-owned businesses. Kipling Acres in the Etobicoke neighbourhood offers long-term care for adults of all ages, including dementia care, on a freshly redeveloped 10-acre site. True Davidson Acres sits beside Taylor Creek Park and offers family-style living in 10 resident-home areas that offer private, semi-private and basic suites for residents.
Lots of ways to stay active and meet new people
The LGBTQ community lives all over the city, although the traditional “gay village” of Church-Wellesley is Toronto’s historic “gaybourhood” and continues to thrive with a mix of cafes, clubs, shops, and shows, along with big events like Pride Toronto each June and the annual Halloween Street Festival. The annual Inside Out festival is one of the world’s largest LGBTQ film festivals, serving up more than a week of film screenings, discussion panels, and parties every spring.
Seniors who want to get outside and play can check out Out & Out Toronto, a non-profit group that seeks out free and inexpensive activities from yoga to kayaking. Out & Out also hosts a popular annual summer camp for LGBTQ adults age 19 and up.
From its retirement homes and extensive support services to indoor and outdoor fun, Toronto makes a point of welcoming LGBTQ seniors and keeping them engaged in the community.
Learn more about Toronto Senior Living here:
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