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The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Two-Spirit, and Queer Community Centre of Ottawa is an incorporated non-profit organization which works towards providing a community centre for the LGBT community in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
GLBTQ groups in Ottawa have had a variety of initiatives to try and create a visible focal point for their community over the last 20 years. Each of these projects has appeared to build upon the efforts of the previous project.
ALGO Years Edit
One of the earliest groups to have attempted to create a GLBT community centre was the Association of Lesbians and Gays of Ottawa. The project came at a time when homosexuality was still treated as criminal, a disease, and/or a deviancy. ALGO was successful in organising a variety of social events for the GLBT community in the city.
Pink Triangle Services' Initiative Edit
In later years as ALGO eventually declined in Ottawa's community the project to create a community centre was picked up by Pink Triangle Services (or PTS). As PTS grew and so did the number of services it provided to the city's GLBT citizens it became necessary to expand their facilities. To date, PTS continues to lease space for their facilities. Part of the intention behind the GLBT community centre of Ottawa Initiative was to create a space that could house PTS and other GLBT organisations at a reasonable cost.
For a time the initiative managed to lease a space near the intersection of Bank and Nepean Streets. This community centre served to provide an alternative space for a variety of PTS projects as well as a location to host the events and projects of other organizations in Ottawa's GLBT community.
Over time, however, this community centre was closed and the initiative began working towards a new community centre.
In 2004 Bob Chiarelli, the mayor of Ottawa, pledged his support for a community centre, although no actual details were given at the time. In 2005 an emergency summit was held to discuss the future of the community centre initiative. As members of the members of the ad hoc committee felt that the task was too daunting to continue and it was replaced with new membership in a steering committee.
The new steering committee members went to task and, with both direct and indirect help from PTS, To Be, Capital Xtra! and the city of Ottawa, was able to begin the process of incorporating into its own organisation. In 2006 the city of Ottawa provided a $5000 CDN Trust held by Pink Triangle Services to begin the process of incorporation which would finally result in the receipt of Letters Patent in April of the same year.
GLBTTQ Community Centre of Ottawa, Inc. Edit
As of May 2006, the new corporation is on its way to applying for charitable status under Canadian law. On September 17th 2006 the Community Centre's inaugural Annual General Meeting was held. Guests included City of Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli, and a group of Two-Spirit Drummers from Minwaashin Lodge. Five new Trustees were elected and the Nominations Committee was charged with seeking new candidates to fill the remaining vacancies. The proposed corporate by-laws were also passed and the members received the Chair's report and a financial statement from the Treasurer.
The current board is now in the process of strengthening ties within the LGBT community as well as consulting with various parts of it in order to further develop its strategic planning.
Though the process of creating the community centre has been relatively smooth there have been some minor controversies.
One of the first controversies was over the name of the new corporation. the previous community centre had been named using the term GLBT but with a mind towards inclusivity some members of the community wished the corporation to include more Ts and Qs to represent Two-Spirit, both Transgender, and Transsexual, as well as Queer and Questioning peoples. Other members wished to have an unrelated name such as was the case with The 519 Church St. Community Centre, which would put no particular emphasis on any group.
Ultimately the above name was chosen and it was decided that the general community would later be invited to make suggestions for a working name and logo for the community centre. The acronym used by this organisation is unique not just in Canada but world wide. The community centre has also recognised the variety of identifications used amongst the LGBT community and seeks to welcome to all those groups and their allies.
Unlike many major urban areas in Canada, the city of Ottawa does not have an official gay village, such as the Gay Village in Montreal, Davie Village in Vancouver or Church and Wellesley in Toronto. This, combined with the City of Ottawa's recommendations regarding the location, has made choosing a potential site for the project a bit of a problem.
Many members of the community feel that the area around the intersections of Bank and Somerset Streets is the core of the gay community while others feel that other neighbourhoods also have large concentrations of GLBT peoples.
While no decision has been made it has been noted by the steering committee that issues of accessibility and infrastructure will be critical to the centre's future location(s). As a result the steering committee has initiated plans to survey the GLBT community through the media, its website and at the Fierté Ottawa-Gatineau Pride.
In 2006 the community centre initiative received approx. $5000 Canadian to support the process of incorporation. With the upcoming mayoral elections in Ottawa this caused some backlash in the general community. However, this controversy seemed to have died down around the same time as Alex Munter announced his candidacy for mayor, as well as next to the more prominent local issues.
At the 2007 annual general meeting, a motion to dissolve the corporation could not be voted on because quorum was not met.
See also Edit
- GLBTTQ Community Centre of Ottawa, Inc.
- GLBTQ Community Centre Initiative
- Capital Xtra Archives
- Editorial in To Be Publications about the GLBTTQ Centre Initiative
- Ottawa Xpress
- Canada.com Article
LGBT and Queer studies