Tourism Calgary: "We're Gay-Friendly, Really!"
Ah, the power of the pink dollar! Tourism Calgary has started promoting the city to gay and lesbian tourists after the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced that Canada’s gay travelers spend over $7 billion annually. Joe Connelly, the vice president of Tourism Calgary, was especially quick to chime in, announcing that “Calgary is very gay friendly.”
Now, as a former Calgarian myself, I’d love to suggest a few of the amazing gay sights that the city has to offer. In fact, I think I have a travel review kicking around here… Ah, yes; here we go!
Calgary, Canada’s Most Gay-Aware City!
Whether you’re gay, lesbian, or simply not a bigot, Calgary is sure to offer a unique “culture-shock” experience you won’t soon forget! Located in the heart of Alberta, Calgary is world-renowned for its fascinatingly homogeneous culture. Spend an afternoon marveling at the city-wide hick pride festival (locally known as the Calgary Stampede), admiring a cowboy hat in the local shops, or simply wincing at the country music scene.
Gay travelers are in for a particularly special treat! Calgary’s only gay bar, Twisted Element, is located in the downtown’s eerie west side. If you find references to Detour, Boystown, RekRoom, or other gay-friendly establishments in any tour guide, don’t skip out just because they’ve closed down! Any of these empty buildings would make an atmospheric and affordable movie set.
Calgary’s annual gay pride parade is a must-see spectacle, unique for having marchers outnumber spectators, and its nationally-reported protester incidents! Gay issues are always at the forefront of the city’s consciousness, and stories will be featured prominently in the six o’clock newscasts. You’ll enjoy such street question segments as A-Channel’s January 18, 2005 poll: “Do you think that same-sex marriage is in the same category as adultery, prostitution, and pornography?” The results (51% yes, 49% no) will surely be an interesting conversation-starter when you get back!
Ah, memories… Well, until Monday, folks!
Update: In researching for an article, Kevin Libin from The National Post wrote in with a correction. There is, indeed, more than one gay bar left in Calgary. My apologies, folks!
- Tourism Calgary courts gays and lesbians [Calgary SUN]