Ottawa introduces first 'Gay Village'

Ottawa has its first official "Gay Village" after a downtown councillor put the final touches on a six-year effort.
A stretch of Bank Street in Centretown Ottawa is now deemed the city's "Gay Village." 2:01

Ottawa has its first official "Gay Village" after a downtown councillor put the final touches on a six-year effort.

Six white signs with a rainbow logo are now posted along Bank Street between Nepean and James Street in Centretown with the words "The Village."

Somerset Ward Coun. Diane Holmes ordered the signs, which were installed late last week, after she conducted her own survey on the issue.

Glenn Crawford applauded the city after years of debating for following through on the Gay Village designation for Bank Street in Centretown Ottawa. ((Giacomo Panico/CBC))

She said most people either supported the village designation or were neutral.

Glenn Crawford, who chairs a group called the village committee, said it was a long time coming.

"I didn't need a red ribbon-cutting moment or anything, you know," said Crawford, "I think the fact that they're up is exciting."

Local groups look to reconcile and move on

Crawford's committee has clashed with the Bank Street Business Improvement Area, which opposed the gay village designation.

The BIA's executive director has spoken out against the idea of a village. It is a matter of labelling, said Gerry Lepage.

"We don't brand. It's not a question of the village," LePage said in late August.

Lepage took a step back Tuesday, saying the BIA now supports the village designation.

Crawford said both sides had taken the wrong approach at times but he is happy the debate is over and wants to reconcile.

Holmes said she hopes the issue is finally put to bed.

"It's taken me six years to reach this point, the six signs is it for me," she said.

Crawford's village committee hopes to turn the newly named stretch of Bank Street as a key destination in the city.