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Ottawa Debuts ‘Gay Village’ Street Signs

The Village has announced the new gay friendly village street sings in Ottawa:

On Friday, November 4, 2011, Ottawa joined many world capital cities in boasting a GLBT-friendly Village. After six years of advocating and lobbying, the Village has received official endorsement from the City of Ottawa when six street signs, featuring the Village’s and City of Ottawa’s logo with a round rainbow decal, were installed on Bank Street on three intersections at Nepean, Somerset and James Streets. The final decision to install the signs was green-lighted by Somerset Ward City Councillor Diane Holmes, with the approval and support of Mayor Jim Watson.

The debate over whether to mark the six blocks of Bank Street from Nepean to James as a Village had met opposition, mainly from the business sector, but received wide-reaching support from three levels of government, community advocacy groups such as the Centretown Citizen’s Community Association, community groups and partners, businesses, and the community at large. The street signs cap off an historic year for the Village, with two public art projects unveiled in August, and more signs and flags installed than ever before in the Village area.

Ottawa Citizen adds:

The designation has been the subject of controversy, with the merchants of the Bank Street Promenade Business Improvement Area having previously voted against a formal label. They’d prefer to have the sense of a gay-friendly neighbourhood arise organically, the BIA’s executive director Gerry LePage has said. The strip has plenty of explicitly gay-oriented businesses – bars, bookstores, sex shops – and many others fly rainbow flags or have decals in their windows.

But last summer, Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes decided the decision shouldn’t rest only in the hands of business owners and commissioned a survey of residents in the immediate neighbourhood to see whether they thought the street should get signs indicating it’s Ottawa’s gay village. If they said it should, she said, she’d get it done.

Read the full article via OTTAWA CITIZEN