The Bedford Regency Hotel on Government Street.

Victoria’s only gay bar closes doors

Younger gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people tend to be more open to going to mainstream bars, lounges and nightclubs.

The last bastion of a “gay-identified” bar has closed its doors in downtown Victoria.

The recent shutdown of The Ledge lounge, a 100-seat establishment in the Bedford Regency Hotel, has brought into question the need for – or absence of – gay establishments in Greater Victoria.

Like The Castle Video Bar and Nightclub and Copper Club in Paul’s Motor Inn, The Q and The Paisley which met their demise before it, The Ledge apparently couldn’t do enough business to stay afloat.

Twila Thomson, the Bedford’s assistant general manager, said the hotel’s owners decided to pull the plug after determining the revenue The Ledge generated in its few years of existence wasn’t enough to justify keeping it open in that format.

“Even in the LGBT community, many people weren’t aware of the space,” she said. “We relied on the manager to promote it.”

Victoria’s Paparazzi nightclub, a popular gathering place for people in the LGBT community – it’s the most likely place to find a show featuring drag queens – bills itself today as “straight-friendly” and “Victoria’s most mixed bar.”

In general, younger gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people tend to be more open to going to mainstream bars, lounges and nightclubs and being themselves without fear, says a transgendered woman who worked the door at Paparazzi for eight months.

At the same time, Patti Dawn Swansson said, not everyone is comfortable being “out” in public.

“There are some people in the gay community who really don’t want to mingle with straight people, just on the off chance straight people will be bigoted or give them a hard time,” she said.

“Usually, it’s men of a certain (older) vintage. If they want to hold hands, they want to do it without any harassment, without people staring at them.”

The Ledge’s closure elicited a number of responses on its Facebook page.

Among them, Kenzie Hawksworth, who wrote: “I think this is a huge loss to the Victoria Queer and Trans community. I don’t think upper management understood what kind of market is out there had they put the slightest bit of effort into promoting the space.”

Robin Stone added: “Victoria is desperately in need of a fabulous queer space.”

Paparazzi co-owner Attila Bassett characterized comments that the city had no more gay spaces as “insulting,” writing on Facebook that “Paparazzi is a space for all. It’s a place where everyone and anyone can be you.”

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read