Since 1973, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) has worked to preserve the history of LGBT people in this country. The organization strives to provide "a significant resource and catalyst for those who strive for a future world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are accepted, valued, and celebrated."
This year, the CLGA turns 40, and there's going to be a party "to celebrate the journey from filing cabinet to full archives." This coming Saturday, November 16, the CLGA Fowl Supper 40th Anniversary Gala is going down at the Toronto Reference Library's Bram and Bluma Appel Salon.
The party, which will raise money for the community-funded organization, sounds like a great time: guests are asked to "dress for Club 54" (disco shirts and stilettos), and there will be champagne, live entertainment and a dance party. Tickets are already sold out.
The CLGA really did start out as a single filing cabinet, which was located in the Toronto office of the newsmagazine Body Politic. It grew from there, moving into a heritage house on Isabella Street in Toronto in 2009. Their collection has become so large over the years that they also rent a 2,000-square foot storage space nearby.
The organization's archives include "all manner of items that might be of potential interest to LGBT research," long-time CLGA volunteer Donald W. McLeod writes. That includes photography, papers from individuals and organizations, movies, audio, and artifacts, with a particular focus on the period from 1964 to the 1990s, which McLeod calls Canada's "era of gay liberation."
As well as housing the archive, the CLGA puts on public exhibitions. Up next at their Isabella Street location is "Rocking the Boat: Celebrating Queer Content in Canadian Concert Dance," which opens on November 22 and runs until April 1, 2014.