The 519's Proud New Identity

City of Toronto agency expands its reach to support LGBTQ community across Toronto and beyond

In advance of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this weekend, The 519 has unveiled a new identity that reflects its ongoing commitment to the LGBTQ community in Toronto.

The City of Toronto agency has dropped “Church Street Community Centre” from its name in recognition that today’s LGBTQ experience, and its services, have moved well beyond the city’s gay village.

In addition to operating an active and engaged Community Centre, The 519 now offers consulting services through its Education and Training Department and has presented City Council with plans to open a second facility focused on LGBTQ inclusion in sport and recreation.

“The 519 has always responded to the emerging needs of our community, and that work has led us to introduce new services, explore new territory, and work to promote inclusion and respect with partners across the city,” said Maura Lawless, Executive Director of The 519. “As we remain focused on the health and happiness of the LGBTQ community, it’s critical that our identity reflects who we are as an organization.”

As part of its new identity, developed with the support of its community-elected and Council-appointed Board of Management, The 519 has adopted a new motto: Space for Change, which reflects the organization’s commitment to creating environments where progress can be made.

With deep roots in Toronto’s LGBTQ community since 1976, The 519 has recently:

  • Introduced an Education and Training Department, which offers inclusion consulting services to employers and organizations including hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities and governments;
  • Launched a settlement program for LGBTQ refugees, which has quickly become their largest source of new members, donors and volunteers, and which draws participants from as far away as Ottawa who have arrived in Canada from dozens of countries worldwide;
  • Developed plans for a second facility, The 519 Recreation Centre, which will focus on inclusion in sport at the municipal and recreational level. The proposed location for this first-of-its-kind facility is now before council, and has the potential to be transformative for the LGBT community, the Toronto sport landscape and Queen Street East;
  • Doubled its revenue in six years through a unique focus on fundraising, social enterprise and consulting. This unique model has allowed The 519 to respond to emerging needs even as its core public funding has remained stable;
  • Continued its annual, four-day Green Space festival, which last year raised more than $500,000 in support of its programmatic offerings.

About the Website

The 519’s new, mobile friendly website launched today will better serve its diverse community of members and visitors. The site provides up to date programming information, a room booking service and access to Education and Training resources. 

To arrange an interview, please contact:

Matthew Cutler
Director, Strategic Partnership Initiatives

For expert commentary on a range of LGBTQ topics and issues:

About The 519

The 519 is a City of Toronto agency committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ community. For 40 years, our innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership has made a real difference in people’s lives, while working to promote broader inclusion, understanding and respect.

We provide direct service to members of the LGBTQ community; provide free, accommodating and non-judgemental space to individuals, organizations and non-profit groups; and advocate for progress by sharing the knowledge and insight we gather on the ground through consulting and workshop services, research and public engagement campaigns.

Up Next:

The 519's New Look

May 14th 2015
Press Releases