Hanlan's Point

For over eight continuous decades, 2SLGBTQ+ people in Toronto have used Hanlan’s Point Beach and the surrounding area as a community hub and place of gathering. It is Canada’s and Toronto’s oldest surviving queer space, as well as one of the ten oldest surviving queer spaces around the globe.

Councillor Ausma Malik speaks at February 2022 community workshop about Hanlan's Point Beach

In November 2022, as part of the Toronto Island Master Plan process, we heard from many community members about their concerns about the proposed festival space on this critical community site. 

Since then, I’ve collaborated with City staff and community advocacy group Friends of Hanlan’s to recognize the importance of this vital space, honour the ways it has been shaped by 2SLGBTQ+ people, and commit to preserving and enhancing it for future generations. Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far: 

  • In February 2023, I joined a community workshop with Toronto Island Master Plan staff and Councillor Chris Moise. At the meeting, it was confirmed that no permanent concert space would be included in the plan and community members provided feedback on other aspects of the plan. 
  • In May 2023, I introduced and passed a motion at City Council to recognize Hanlan's Point Beach as a Historically Queer Space and ensure the City engages Toronto's queer community in Toronto Island Park planning.
  • In June 2023 we advanced several key priorities and improvements to Hanlan’s Point Beach that are important to the queer community, for this year and the future. Our recommendations were approved by Council unanimously.
  • One of the key recommendations from this process was to create a Working Group of City staff and members of the public to shape the future of Hanlan’s Point Beach and area. The Working Group had its first meeting in February 2024. 
  • In March 2024, City Council approved my motions to advance two new projects to protect and enhance this cherished space. The first supports ecological preservation through new fencing, improved use through better access across the beach, and heritage commemoration of the site of Canada’s first Pride celebration in 1971. The second approves a 600-metre beautiful painted rainbow road at Hanlan’s Point Beach Road designed by queer artist Travis Myers, through community fundraising led by Friends of Hanlans, with a contribution from the Waterfront BIA and support from Pride Toronto.

Here are some actions you can take now: 

I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve to preserve and enhance this important public space. Thank you to the advocates who have lifted up this effort, and together we will continue to strengthen and protect Hanlan’s Point beach and area for all.



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