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Gay Toronto in the 1970s

OttoSchloss

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Indeed, in fact they thought poppers (amyl nitrate) was the cause - and that has absolutely nothing to do with fluid exchange or Crisco.

AoD
Some still do. Poppers can cause immune system collapse in the exact moment you take them, the theory being you're much more likely to be infected at this point. Other theories are/were previous exposure to an STD like syphilis (i.e. it's either mutated syphilis or just the disease damaging your immune system). Or just hard drug use, i.e. cocaine and heroin that leaves your immune system more susceptible to the virus. And then there are still even crazier theories that abounded and are still around like HIV and AIDS are completely unrelated and the drug that people take for HIV actually cause AIDS etc.

Perhaps the worst part of the early discovery of the disease was that it only affected Haitians and then gay men, and thus for a very long time it was a curiosity rather than a disease to be battled by governments (Reagan famously dismissed the AIDS threat and a lot of people blame him for allowing so many people to eventually die).
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

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And then there are still even crazier theories that abounded and are still around like HIV and AIDS are completely unrelated and the drug that people take for HIV actually cause AIDS etc.
Well, if they truly believe in that, they should take a vial of pure HIV and shoot themselves up with it. Emprical experimentation counts for a lot.

AoD
 

TOareaFan

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and rugs were also rampant. There are tons of things you can get with this kind of contact besides AIDS.
yes, the rugs in the 70's were awful....all that orange and avocado shag stuff! ;)

Not to make light of the subject but that is one of the funniest inadvertent typos I have ever read!

The early knowledge of AIDs was one of the darkest times.... particularly the reaction of the population in general......there were breaking stories in the papers about this "gay disease" and there was very little mobilization of resources and research...as if it was ok as long as it did not spread to "the rest of us"...shameful really.
 

Urban Shocker

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Perhaps the worst part of the early discovery of the disease was that it only affected Haitians and then gay men
There was a joke going around in the gay community, in the early days of AIDS, concerning how difficult it would be tell one's mother that one was ... Haitian.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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Parkdalian

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Hey guys, thanks for all of the responses! And for those who've messaged me directly: sorry, I do want to hear your stories. But I have been busy lately and I need to get some work sorted out before I start interviewing anyone. Privacy is an important issue and I don't want to step on any toes.

A specific question: does anyone have any (PG) personal memories or opinions about two places - The Parkside Tavern or Club Manatee? I've been reading a little bit about them and would love some unfiltered opinions of them.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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I was in The Parkside two, maybe three times when I was starting to explore all the clubs. It was an older crowd (like downstairs at The St. Charles) or at least the men seemed older when I was in my late teens and I don't recall it being very nice. I have a memory of it smelling in there too.
Club Manatee was great, a friend of mine's partner did the lighting and had something to do with the sound in there which is how I got introduced to it at a young age. They had a good dance area, it was very cruisy and was a great place to go with friends plus it was open late. So many great memories there. I remember I heard that it closed (rather suddenly) quite some time after the fact.
There were other clubs on or just off Yonge in the late 70's to mid 80's including Katrinas/Colby's/Club Colby's on St. Joseph St, Trax on Yonge, Chaps on Isabella, Charlies (upstairs at the St. Charles Tavern) which was on Yonge but you could also enter from the laneway out back, a bar in the basement that I can't remember the name of on Hayden Street below what is now "Kitchen Stuff Plus", Komrads (best sound system and dance floor) on the 2nd floor at the corner of Yonge & Isabella - I saw Divine perform live there, The Quest a small piano bar across from the Uptown Cinemas that had a drag revue on the 2nd floor ("The Impersonators"?) that seemed to play at least a decade and there was a short lived club (it lasted perhaps a year) above the rough and tumble Gasworks on the 2nd floor, but I can't remember the name of it.
 
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TonyV

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...and there was a short lived club (it lasted perhaps a year) above the rough and tumble Gasworks on the 2nd floor, but I can't remember the name of it.
That was Cornelius. There is only one reason I remember that: I picked up the most handsome man there! We're talking the mid 80s, not 70s.

My personal hangout in those early years, the 70s, was The Quest. I don't know why, there was just a very good vibe about the place, it was great for dancing and "home" is where your friends are.

To Parkdalian: when I originally saw your new thread, I had intended to contribute quite a bit, but I have become enormously busy in the past few weeks. Sorry about that. The mid-70s were my "coming out time" as a youngster. At that time I got the impression that gay people were the happiest segment of Toronto's population. I had an awesomely good time.
 

Urban Shocker

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The Manatee was great fun in the early '70s - we used to go there as OCA students. No alcohol served, and a great place to dance. Elton John used to go there when he was in town, I was told at the time.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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That was Cornelius. There is only one reason I remember that: I picked up the most handsome man there! We're talking the mid 80s, not 70s.

My personal hangout in those early years, the 70s, was The Quest. I don't know why, there was just a very good vibe about the place, it was great for dancing and "home" is where your friends are.

To Parkdalian: when I originally saw your new thread, I had intended to contribute quite a bit, but I have become enormously busy in the past few weeks. Sorry about that. The mid-70s were my "coming out time" as a youngster. At that time I got the impression that gay people were the happiest segment of Toronto's population. I had an awesomely good time.
Yes, Cornelius! It was there about 1983, I associate going there to where I was working at the time. It was such a strange place, located above the legendary Gasworks bar at Yonge & Dundonald (now a dollar store). I only went in there a couple of times, I was OK slipping in there but I was scared to come out! I don't recall it being very busy there.
I liked The Quest too, it was a fun place to hang out with friends. It was fairly small but intimate, I remember a woman (possibly a drag queen, I was so young & stupid then) who used to sing "The Banana Song" regularly or on request, which was hysterical.
Sorry for my foray into the '80's :)
 

Paulb

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Fabulous Toronto

Toronto in the 70s was a wonderful place. I had moved from the UK and was lucky to get a job with the City of Toronto Health Dept. I was 18 years old. I wasnt sure about my sexuality at first, but I soon realised I was gay. I went to most of the bars and the scene was amazing. The Quest and St. Charles on Yonge St were popular hang outs. The other Health Inspector were very supportive to me and I had a great group of friends. The Mount Pleasant Lunch owned by Sheila was very popular and we had many parties and outings with her.I never experienced any homophobia and Toronto will always be my favourite, if only my partner could have got landed immigrant status we would still be there, yes we are still together 34 years later. Thank you Toronto for lovely memories and lovely people. Wish I'd kept in touch with the friends I had.
 

Paulb

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Ooops forgot The Four Seasons Sheraton bar run by John Lockington was a great place to hang out very gay . Sam the Record Man was the shop to get all the gayest unknown singers Lana Cantrell was brill. The O keefe centre had all the pre broadway shows and international stars appearing. The Royal York was where you could go see Ella , Marlene,Peggy and many more always got a table close to the stage. Would be lovely to go the Quest back in the 70s the people I bet Ive forgotten.
 
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