Historical Poster Displays
(Created 2013, June 1; Revised 2021, March 2)

The Chronology


Decriminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults. Initiated by Pierre Trudeau.

1969, June

Stonewall riots in New York City. Start of what was then called the Gay Liberation Movement.


Start of what were then called Gay Lib groups in Toronto (Univ. of Toronto Homophile Association) and London (Univ. of Western Ontario Homophile Assn.)

1971, Feb.23

Start of Univ. of Guelph Homophile Association (UGHA). Collapsed in Fall, 1971.

1971, Mar.8

Start of Waterloo Universities' Gay Liberation Movement (WUGLM). Several names over the years, including GLLOW & GLOW.

1971, Aug.28

Waterloo Region community participated in an equal rights protest on Parliament Hill. We had a lot of fun, in spite of the rain. This was probably the first LGBTQ2+ demonstration in Canada.

1973, Oct.24

Resurrection of Univ. of Guelph Homophile Assn. (UGHA). Several names over the years. Now called Guelph Queer Equality.


Attempt to form a community group with drop-in centre in Waterloo Region. It never got off the ground.

1974 - 1980

The justly famous Bridgeport Dances were held at the Bridgeport Community Centre in the absence of commercial bars or clubs in the area.

1977 - 2010

The Robin's Nest ran community-style dances at various locations in Cambridge for more than three decades, in spite of the existence of commercials bars and clubs during much of that time. Many lesbians. Much dancing.

1977 - 1995

The Univ. of Guelph Homophile Assn. began a Newsletter that was usually issued monthly, and ran for an astonishing 19 years, through a couple of name changes of the group.

1977 - 1987?

The Lesbian Organization of Kitchener was active for about a decade, and provided a focal point for lesbian feminists in the area.


Local protests against Anita Bryant, the notorious fundamentalist purveyor of anti-homosexual propaganda from Florida.


The start-up of Gay Rights Organization of Waterloo / GROW. By the end of 1978 it had split into two groups: GROW (a group interested in social activities) and Gay Rights Organization of Waterloo (which continued to work primarily as the Kitchener-Waterloo Gay Media Collective).

1978 - 1985?

The Kitchener-Waterloo Gay Media Collective published OUT! magazine 1978-1979, ran the radio show Gay News & Views from 1978 to about 1985, and also sponsored some dances, movies and plays.

1978 - 1980?

GROW arranged many social activities, including dinners, out-of-town trips, a carnival day, and parties for skating, swimming, other sports.

1978 - 1985?

Beginning on 1978, Aug.9, the Kitchener-Waterloo Gay Media Collective ran one of the first radio shows in Canada, Gay News & Views, from 1978 to about 1985.

1979 - 2000

Starting on 1979, June 7, the Leaping Lesbians Radio Show ran until about 2000 - a very long run. In the beginning it was run by the Lesbian Organization of Kitchener.


The beginning of commercial bars/clubs in the area: JJ's Disco and Chatters bar. JJ's ran until Fall 1981 when the Half and Half opened.

1982 - 1985

Gays of Wilfrid Laurier was refused status in January, then granted official status in June. It ran until late 1985.


Kitchener City Hall passed an anti-discrimination by-law covering its employees.

1982 - 1983

GLOW published GLOW News.


People began to become aware that a serious illness had appeared, namely AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

1984? - 1985?

Gays Out Of Doors was active in Waterloo Region. Later resurrected around 1989 or before for a while.


ACCKWA (AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area) was founded as a community organization.


ACCKWA became an incorporated agency.


ACG (AIDS Committee of Guelph) also became an incorporated agency this year.


WOODS (Women Out Of Doors) was started up by Lisa Simkins and Kim Gingrich. Now called Women Out Opening Doors Socially.

1989, Oct.

The Pink Triangle Community Calendar was started by Lisa SImkins. In 1992 it was taken over by GLLOW and continued sporadically until 1996.


Circles opened at 24 Charles St W, Kitchener - the home to other clubs in the future.


PFLAG (then called Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Chapter began in Brampton. In 1994 the PFLAG Waterloo-Wellington Chapter was formed, and was active until nearly 2010.

1991, Jan.

Murder of Mr. & Mrs. Gligor in Kitchener. The speculation at the time about a gay connection was not proven false until 2007.

1991, Mar.

GLLOW's 20th anniversary celebration, involving a reunion & panel discussion.

1991, Oct.

Canadian AIDS Quilt visited Guelph.


Same-sex spousal benefits granted at Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Univ. Waterloo had to wait until 1995.


In 1992, January, attempts began at WLU to start up a student club to replace Gays of Wilfrid Laurier, which had collapsed in 1985. Succeeded 1993 March as Gays, Lesbians or Bisexuals at Laurier (GLOBAL) which ran until about 1998. Resurrected again in 2000.

1992, Jan.

GLLOW Discussion Group started up. It went through changes over the years, and lasted for a considerable time.


New bars: 33 Mac in Guelph, Pink Zone in Kitchener (closed 1994 Sept.), Timothy Stevens at 24 Charles St W in Kitchener (closed in 1993).


Older & Wiser Lesbians (OWLS) was active in Waterloo Region, and remained so for several years.


The Internet: GLLOW gopher site began; GLLOW website began in 1993 or 1994.


Other Side Club was opened in Cambridge by Mark Jordan & Rick Lethbridge. It ran until 1995, September.


Elmira Independent newspaper published an anti-bisexual editorial, triggering a firestorm in local media.

1993, Mar.

Gays, Lesbians or Bisexuals at Laurier (GLOBAL) started at WLU.


Out & About Queer Radio show started. It ran until about 2000, when it ceased due to ongoing problems with the homophobic management of CKWR.


Cambridge Kitchener-Waterloo Bisexual Liberation (CKWBL) was formed; ceased 1997.


Club Renaissance opened in 24 Charles St W, Kitchener. It closed in the summer of 2013. Kitchener-Waterloo was without an LGBTQ2+ bar at that point.


Waterloo Region Alliance for Equal Rights (WRAER) started and ran for a couple of years.

1994, Nov.

Rainbow Chorus of Waterloo-Wellington was formed; its first concert was 1995 Spring.

1995, Feb.

First email message sent on Rainbow List; this email list is still in existence in 2021.

1995, May 25

On May 25, Kitchener refused to proclaim Pride Week.

1995, June 28

First local Pride celebration in Kitchener City Hall Rotunda. The irony...

1995, Sept.

Outlook Magazine began. Mark Jordan & Rick Lethbridge published it until 1998 Summer.


ACCKWA Youth Discussion Group started; ran for several years.

1995, Nov.

Canadian AIDS Quilt visited Conestoga College.

1996, March 9

GLLOW 25th Anniversary held at Waterloo Inn; Svend Robinson speaker; 231 at dinner; more at dance.

1996, April 18

Regional Pride Committee formed; now called tri-Pride Community Association.

1996, June 27

2nd local Pride celebration, again in Rotunda of Kitchener City Hall.

1996, July 27

KW Frontrunners had its first run; this running/swimming group lasted a few years.

1996, Dec. 15

Regional Pride Committee set up the Rainbow Community Centre website which listed community resources. It ran for about 5 years. We were without a community-based website until 2007 when Grand River Rainbow Community Centre website started up.

1997, June 26

3rd local Pride celebration; again in Rotunda of Kitchener City Hall.

1997, July 10

Victoria Park Gay Bashing; 2 men sentenced to prison on 1999, Feb.15.

1998, June 20

4th local Pride celebration moved to the Clocktower area of Victoria Park; very hot that day, with little shade.

1998, July

Out-Reach Rainbow Alliance (ORRA) began as a community group; ceased by the end of 1998.

1998, Oct.9

The Voice magazine began. The Editor was A.J. Mahari. It ran to 2003, Feb.

1998, Oct.12

Waterloo-Wellington communities expresed shock and sadness at the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming.

1999, June 19

The annual tri-Pride celebration moved to Roos Island of Victoria Park. This was the location of the outdoor music festival each year until the disastrous storm of 2011.

1999, Sept.12

Friends of Dorothy Bowling League formed; still in existence in 2021.


GLOBAL at WLU was resurrected; around the summer of 2006, it merged into the WLU Rainbow Centre support service.

2000, June 17

The Pride celebration covered the weekend.

2001, Mar.15

Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival started up. In 2014, the name was changed to Rainbow Reels Queer & Trans Film Festival.

2001, June

Pride Weekend. This year, the last big resource guide was published (76 pages!)

2003, June 12

On June 12, Same-sex marriage became possible in Waterloo Region. On June 14 Jim Parrott & William Pensaert became one of the first same-sex couples in Waterloo Region to be married legally.

2003, June 12-14

The Canadian AIDS Quilt visited RIM Park and Victoria Park.

2003, June

Guelph Pride began, separate from the tri-Pride celebrations.


Secrett Events (operated by Shelley Secrett) began producing Cliterature.


Torchlight Gender Support began in Cambridge as a group for trans folk in 2003; last meeting 2015, October


Secrett Events began producing Lesbo Bingo.

2005, May28-Jun.5

The 10th anniversary of local pride. Ashley MacIsaac headlined.


Initial work in starting up OK2BME. The OK2BME group began operation at the end of January 2007.


tri-Pride celebration was shelved - not enough community involvement to make it happen.


Thom Ryan and associates started up the Grand River Rainbow Community Centre website. It listed community resources and events; it also included news items.

2008, May 2 - Jun.1

tri-Pride was back again.


Sizzle nightclub began in Cambridge in 2010 (or 2009). This rainbow hangout closed on 2015, May 22.


Little Bean Coffee Bar began in Kitchener in 2010 (or 2009). This queer-friendly gathering place ran for several years and then closed.


Euchre in the basement (organized by Shelley Secrett) began in Kitchener in 2010 (or 2009). It ran for a number of years.


Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition (WRRC) began.


1st annual GSA Conference (OK2BME)

2011, Mar.14

Grand River Rainbow Historical Project began.

2011, May28-Jun.4

The 2011 tri-Pride celebration proceeded as planned until the day of the outdoor music festival (June 4), which got rained out in a disastrous storm; some of the scheduled performers appeared at local queer venues instead.

2012, May24-Jun.3

The tri-Pride Music Festival moved from Roos Island in Victoria Park to King St. Kitchener. This was made necessary by a City by-law change.

2012, August

SPECTRUM - Waterloo Region`s Rainbow Community Space opened with the name WRRC Community Space under wing of the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition (WRRC).

2012, October

Rainbow Community Calendar began. This has been published by SPECTRUM for nearly 9 years now.


Waterloo-Wellington Gender-Variant Working Group began in 2012 (or 2011). Later named Gender Variant Working Group.

2012, December

SPECTRUM/WRRC Youth Drop-In began. In January 2013 named Connect Rainbow Youth Drop-In. Last meeting 2014, June.

2013, January

Lazy Queer Book Club began; changed name to SPECTRUM Reading Circle in 2016, April; last meeting 2018, November.

2013, January

Local PFLAG Chapter was ressurrected after SPECTRUM petitioned PFLAG Canada. The catchment area became Waterloo-Wellington-Perth.

2013, Feb.22

SPECTRUM - Waterloo Region`s Rainbow Community Space spun off from WRRC.

2013, June 2

Rainbow Connections (a mental-health support group) started in Kitchener; last listed 2018, Jan.24.

2013, June 7

SPECTRUM's Friday Evening Games Program began as Gayme Day (also known as Gaym Day and day5games). The longest running program of SPECTRUM.

2013, June

Secrett Mystery Bus Tour first happened; reprised in 2016, June and 2016, October.

2013, October 22

SPECTRUM's Working Group on LGBTQ Seniors Needs first meeting; on 2014, January it took the name Aging with Pride Committee; 2015, September AwP began giving LGBTQ+ competency training sessions to senior-serving facilities.

2014, January 9

Premiere of Rainbow Reflections (a local history documentary film by Melissa Sky) at Little Bean Coffee Bar.

2014, February 11

Coming Out Older Discussion Group (SPECTRUM) began; ceased 2016, June.

2014, March 4

Trans Peer Support Group began; one of SPECTRUM's longest running programs.

2014, May 7

Rainbow Community Council initial planning May 7th, formal start-up 2014; May 7th, 2015.

2014, September

Modus Vivendi Village Players (later Outfest) (theatrical group) began; later took the name OutFest.

2014, November

Rainbow Open Recovery (addiction support) began; last meeting 2015, August.

2014, November

Breaking the Silence on Hidden Violence forum occurred. In May 2015, Breaking the Silence was adopted as a working group of the Rainbow Community Council. .

2014, December 5

The Order night club opened; closed its doors in the summer of 2017.

2014, December

SPECTRUM's Gender-Neutral Washroom Survey began and results were installed on the website.

2015, Jan.11

SPECTRUM's Outdoor Recreation Group began as the Men's HIking Group. In 2015, November broadened to all genders; at some point became ORG - Outdoor Recreation Group - last meeting 2017, November 22.

2015, February 12

SPECTRUM's Rainbow Newcomers Group began; 2018, Feb. changed name to Rainbow Multicultural Connect.

2015, March 11

Queercraft (queer crafting group) began at SPECTRUM; ceased 2018, August.

2015, April

SPECTRUM had to move most of its programming to various venues in KW, in anticipation of a move to the Duke Street location in Kitchener.

2015, June 5

Grain Hall Cocktail Lounge (queer club) opened in Kitchener; did not last long.

2015, July 4

SPECTRUM Saturday Drop-In began; it was the first program to operate in the new Duke Street location in Kitchener; it has been a long-running favourite. Most other SPECTRUM programs did not move to the new location until 2015, September.

2015, August

Solidarity Alliance began as a working subgroup of the Rainbow Community Council (RCC); its purpose was to address gaps in services and essential resources for LGBTQ+ newcomers / refugees / immigrants to Waterloo Region.

2016, March

Good Laughs (for trans folk and allies) started at the Symposium Café in Waterloo; last meeting 2019, March.

2016, May 15

Trans Fams began as a recreational group for families with Trans and Gender Independent kids.

2016, June 12

The Orlando Pulse Nightclub Massacre occurred in the early hours of Sunday, June 12. Local vigils were held on Tuesday (June 14) at Kitchener City Hall and on Thursday (June 16) Uptown Waterloo Square.

2016, July

SPECTRUM Older Adults Group began; changed name to SPECTRUM Prime on 2017, February 1.

2016, November 7

Rainbow Bereavement Support Group began at the Waterloo Hospice; ceased 2018, August.

2016, December 25

For the first time, SPECTRUM provided drop-in hours (2-8 PM) with light refreshments on this day, when so many people are lonely. In 2017, this became a major event with a lot of food; the event on 2020, Dec. was done as a virtual event via Zoom with free dinners supplied to people who asked for them.

2017, March 3

The start up of KW El-Tawid Circle, described as a progressive Muslim social and prayer group which is gender equal and LGBTQ affirmative. In December 2019 renamed K-W Unity Mosque.

2017, August 1

SPECTRUM was granted charitable status by the CRA, allowing it to issue income-tax receipts

2017, October 15

The first SPECTRUM Outing involved a visit to the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. All subsequent Outings were to local restaurants, concluding the Symposium Cafe and Seven Shores Cafe.

2018, February 28

The Coming Out Group began at SPECTRUM; in 2018, September changed to Converse & Connect.

2018, October

The Shifting our OutLook Symposium occurred.

2019, February 3

Youth Under the Rainbow (a youth dropin at SPECTRUM) began; last meeting 2019, December

2019, August 27

SPECTRUM Legal Aid Clinic began as a partnership with Waterloo Region Community Legal Services.

2019, October 19

SPECTRUM's Rainbow Family Drop-in began; on hiatus since 2020, Oct.17

2019, November 18

SPECTRUM TransMasculine Peer Support Group began.

2020, January 14

SPECTRUM's Sexual Assault Survivors Group was begun in partnership with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region. Renamed LGBTQ+ Healthy Relationships Support Group on 2021, January 14.

2020, February 27

SPECTRUM's Transgender Non-Binary group began on February 27 (just before the lockdown). The next meeting April 21 was held as a Zoom session. The group went on hiatus after the 2020, September 15 meeting.

2020, March 13

SPECTRUM closed its doors to the public, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, SPECTRUM moved all of its programming online, except for the monthly restaurant outing, which was suspended until it was safe to resume it.

2021, January

SPECTRUM began Project Excelsior (a capacity-building Project to improve SPECTRUM's ability to serve the public) and hired three employees for that purpose. At the same time SPECTRUM also hired its first full-time permanent employee - an Assistant Executive Director (in training to become Executive Director).