How gay is Edmonton?

Post ImageApparently the city I live in is gay enough to make it into Out Traveler magazine’s top five gay-friendly tourist destinations in Canada. Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Toronto are the other cities. Here’s what they say about Edmonton:

Its hard not to take a shine to Edmonton, the laid-back capital of oil-rich Alberta. A refreshing optimism permeates this city of one million–buoyed by its oil-boosted fortunes. Edmonton has struck it rich but hasnt changed its friendly down-to-earth charm.

Let the herds kick up a ruckus about Calgary; bold, assured Edmonton gallops way ahead, leaving the rest of Alberta in the dust.

Such kind words! The magazine notes there’s a number of gay and lesbian bars and clubs in “the burgeoning gay village of Jasper Avenue, a two-block area with half a dozen gay businesses.”

Sun Media talked to editor in chief Ed Salvato, who had this to say:

“We chose Edmonton because we think it’s one of the more interesting places for gays and lesbians to visit in Canada. It’s a bastion of progressiveness. It’s surprisingly gay-friendly.”

City councillor Michael Phair, who is openly gay, said the magazine showcases Edmonton as “diverse and welcoming.” Sun Media also talked to gay activist Kris Wells, who wasn’t so upbeat:

He says he still doesn’t feel safe walking down Whyte Avenue hand-in-hand with his partner. “It’s still not safe to be visibly gay or lesbian. You put your life at risk.”

So I guess Edmonton is gay-friendly but most Edmontonians are not? Perhaps that’s because Edmonton is situated in the Texas of the North! Clearly we have some work to do.

Read: Canoe