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celebrating canada’s lgbt LIFESTYLE | January 2015









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17/12/2014 11:54:04 AM

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CONTRIBUTORs Philip Franchini, Paul Gallant, Tracy Howard, Michael Pihach, Elizabeth Raddick, Adam Segal, Riley Stewart, Andre Tardif, Casey Williams ON the cover Photography by Adam Webster; Brodie (Velocci Models); Monica Pavez, grooming; sweater, Zara; location, The Sovereign, Toronto Senior Account Director Woodrow Monteiro


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Feel free to share your comments on IN or articles in the magazine by emailing us at IN Magazine is published 12 times per year by The Mint Media Group. All rights reserved. 182 Davenport Rd., Suite 300, Toronto, ON, M5R 1J2

17/12/2014 11:56:09 AM

Contents INFRONT

issue 56

january 2015


06 | FITNESS PROFILE Strength through positive thinking

20 | VESTED IN VANCOUVER Mid-century modern fan finds his home

09 | WHEELS A Lexus of many sides

24 | the techno heave-ho The brave new world of breaking up

10 | FAMILY AFFAIRS LGBT families learn what’s in a name


16 | VICTORY AT SEA The St. Lawrence wins over a first-time cruiser

12 | LOOKING GOOD Helping your skin keep its youthfulness


13 | ON RELATIONSHIPS A crash course in self-esteem

27 | WINTER WARMUp Fighting the cold in layers of cool

14 | ON THE TOWN Scenes from the party circuit


32 | CULTURAL CALENDAR Events of LGBT interest across Canada 34 | FLASHBACK Women who knew the power of “no”

Behind the Bylines

“We watched couple after couple take

“Get back to basics: consistent sleep,

“You could argue that any relationship that

Jim Brosseau, page 16

Tracy Howard, page 12

Paul Gallant, page 24

to the dance floor, many displaying the agility that comes with decades of kicking up their heels together.”

sufficient water, regular exercise and fewer Moscow Mules.”

begins in text, as so many digital dates do today, might be fated to end in text.”

04 05 Mast Head.dw.indd 5


17/12/2014 11:56:19 AM

Fitness Profile

Christian Thompson Profession Lifestyle and fashion blogger. Role Models My parents, especially my mother. She has been my biggest role model growing up. She has shown me in numerous ways that life truly is what you make it. From her, I have learned that with hard work, determination and a little bit of luck, anything is possible. How Sexuality Affected Sports Activities Growing Up Sports have always played a big part in my life, well before I even understood my sexuality. I think that because of that, I really didn’t let negativity get in the way of it. Ways You Overcame Any Anti-Gay Prejudices By being myself at all times and standing up for what I believe in. Once you learn that what other people think about you has more to do with themselves than you, overcoming prejudice in general becomes a lot easier. Advice to Young People on Overcoming Biases in Sports Be the best at your sport and let your talent speak for itself. If you do that, your peers will have no choice but to respect your game. Growing up can be difficult and kids can be mean, but if we want to dispel certain biases in sports, we have to participate in order to see those changes occur. Personal Fitness Goals Just to be the best version of myself inside and out. To me, it’s more than just working out. It’s a commitment to living a better life. It may start with fitness, but it doesn’t stop there. The right food choices and maintaining a positive outlook on life are just as important. Your Fitness Strategy My trainer and I tend to focus my workouts around high-intensity interval training and circuits that revolve around using my own body weight. It’s less about getting bigger muscles and more about staying lean and increasing definition. Hobbies I love to travel, run outdoors, read biographies, listen to live music and host events. Inspiration Source Travel. I had the opportunity to spend a few months in Paris in the past year. Being fully immersed in the culture made me feel so alive and inspired. It made me realize that sometimes we get so caught up in our everyday life that we forget there is so much more out there in the world for us to discover. Best Life Lesson So Far Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. Just keep that in mind next time life decides to throw you a curve ball.

Photography: Riley Stewart

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17/12/2014 11:58:21 AM

INFRONT Wh e e l s

Smooth Operator → For mid-size comfort and luxury, the Lexus RX350 is a driving force By Casey Williams


f you’re looking for a flashy

upholstered in soft leather. The

crossover to make a scene

steering wheel is not heated,

at your local scene, keep on

but it is crafted from wood and

driving. Although the Lexus RX

leather. Four passengers ride in

essentially invented the mid-size

supreme comfort after lodging

luxury crossover market, and still


dominates, it’s not about flash.

through a power hatch.





And that’s exactly what makes it

Once you’re buckled in, tap

so cool: its luxury takes you away

into the infotainment system.

from it all.

A mouse-style controller allows

2015 Lexus RX350 Five-passenger, AWD crossover Powertrain 201kW/270hp 3.5-litre V6, 6-spd. auto transmission Suspension f/r ind/ind Wheels 18 inch/18 inch alloy f/r Brakes disc/disc fr/rr Must-have features Refinement, performance Fuel economy 13.3/9.8 litres/100km city/hwy Assembly Japan Base price $50,600

But being understated doesn’t

easy access to navigation and the

legs. To tame slick freeways and

smooth ride is aimed more

mean you can’t be a little sexy—

12-speaker audio system with

curves, put your heel into the


take a look at the RX350’s new

SiriusXM satellite radio, USB and

throttle and whisk away with

than athletic handling. The cabin

spindle grille. The automobile’s

Bluetooth. Lexus Enform adds

the 201 kW/270 horsepower 3.5-

is remarkably quiet, ideal for

tall hatchback crossover style

NavTraffic, NavWeather, stock

litre V6 purring through a six-

noisy commutes. Expect to pay

is so familiar that it’s easy to

prices, sports scores and even

speed automatic transmission

at least $50,600 for the privilege

forget the RX virtually originated

local fuel prices. Actual knobs for

and all-wheel drive. Resist the

of owning the RX350.

it in the late 1990s. LED running

volume and tuning make basic

temptation to extract maximum

Storm forward!






Safety is enhanced with a backup








Inside, luxurious curves are enhanced with genuine wood trim




incredibly radar-guided








litres/100km city/hwy.


If you’re looking for a crossover

control and a Forward Collision

to race down back roads, go

Warning system.

try a BMW X3 or Audi Q5. The


Like the rest of the car, the

Lexus RX350 handles well and

coverings. Typical in a Lexus,

powertrain, you might say, is

soaks up rough pavement like

seats are heated, ventilated and

smoother than a drag queen’s

an aluminum sponge, but the

A contributing writer for, Casey Williams is a frequent business traveller to Montreal. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams is a columnist for that city’s newspaper, the Star. in m a g a z in e . c a

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17/12/2014 11:59:08 AM

Fa m i ly Affa i rs

The Name Game → Common words like “aunt” or “grandpa” can sometimes be fraught with landmines for gay couples By Jim Brosseau


ll I could think of was that early grainy photo of Earth taken from outer space. There was something familiar yet distant about the sonogram image of my partner’s first grandchild. In staring at the black-andwhite pictures of baby’s first snooze, I felt a strong connection to this incubating Einstein-to-be. But then came a question that tempered some of my joy: what would he or she—the three-month mark doesn’t tell you everything—call me? Gay-family semantics can be as fluid as the makeup of LGBT relationships themselves. Phil and I, though never wed, have been a couple for nearly two decades. Once we started getting serious, I grew keenly interested in meeting his two young-adult sons. I didn’t want to force myself into their lives. They’d had a traditional version of family upended by divorce and a parent’s coming out, and I had no interest in rearranging the furniture again. It would be up to them to say when they were ready to meet me. It would happen in good time, and, fortunately, it did. Through all kinds of social occasions with them since, the question of what to call me had never come up. Dad was Dad, and I was Jim. But when the younger son and his fiancée asked me to speak at their wedding, my sovereignty was no longer quite so simple. How would I be billed? How should the priest introduce me when it was my turn to

speak? When guests asked which side of the family I was on, how was I to answer the inevitable follow-up about “what” I was to the groom—many of the guests didn’t even know that the groom’s father is gay. A gesture that might have cemented my spot in the familial firmament had oddly cast me adrift. If my nomadic status troubled me, it was as much about my place at a table—literally— as the broader questions of place still confronting LGBT families. Many of those questions, of course, are simply generational. Well-meaning elders grew up in a vastly different world. And while flat-out bigotry can never be excused, far lesser offenses can be forgiven. I’m thinking of, say, the great aunt who keeps asking why her 30-something (lesbian) niece hasn’t found a husband. For my longtime Toronto friends Den and Phil, there was never a question about what Den’s nieces and nephews would call Phil: if it were Uncle Den, it would also be Uncle Phil. Terms like “mom” and “dad” can be much trickier. Of course, if a gay couple together adopt or have a biological child, there’s little question about what that child might call his or her parents. But what about blended families, in which youngsters take up residency with mom and her new wife, or dad and his new boyfriend? The trick, experts say—particularly

where older kids and teens are concerned—is not to force children to use a particular term. If they’re comfortable with “aunt” or “mom” or “grandma,” that’s a gift. But resentments could build if children are told what they have to call the adults in a gay relative’s life. When one of my partner’s daughtersin-law suggested that her children call us Grandpa Jim and Grandpa Phil, I had to object. I didn’t want to make things confusing for toddlers barely learning to speak. They do, after all, have just one grandfather, and he’s not only totally devoted but also lavishes them (sometimes to my rolling eyes) with clothes and other gifts. I want these children to know who their grandfather is; my belief is that he’s earned and deserves the honour. That said, Phil’s grandchildren have grown up knowing me. I cradled them when they were mere hours old. Once they began talking, they’d always ask where I was if their grandfather visited without me. For now, I’ve asked that they all call me “Jim.” Maybe some day they’ll choose to call me “Grandpa” instead or as well. The important thing is that whatever they call me, they won’t love me any less.

TALK BACK Share your thoughts on this column or anything else in IN Magazine by emailing

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18/12/2014 1:54:15 PM


Looking Good

Youth Preservers → Help keep the aging process from getting under your skin By Tracy Howard


s much as it signals renewal, a new year also reminds us

water, regular exercise and fewer Moscow Mules. But since most

that time stops for no man (or woman). And if you over-

skin aging is due to sun damage, daily sunscreen is also essential.

did holiday festivities or are clocking killer work hours, you

For further protection, as well as to treat the wear and tear already

may be feeling less like Baby New Year and more like Father Time.

there, here’s the 411 on a handful of skin-care products for your

If that’s you, get back to basics: consistent sleep, sufficient

Serious serum. While you may associate a serum with an Ebola ward rather than your complexion, there are good reasons to use one. Serums contain smaller molecules than moisturizers do, so they penetrate into deeper skin layers. Additionally, they’re formulated with higher concentrations of active ingredients. Try: Formulated with alpha hydroxy acids, peptides and algae extract, Anthony High Performance AntiWrinkle Glycolic Peptide Serum moisturizes, lifts and targets deep lines ($68,

Master multitasker. If you were to own one anti-aging product, a retinoid would be a wise choice. Whether in a tube of prescription Retin-A or a milder off-the-shelf retinol, retinoids are scientifically proven wrinkle-fighters. Additionally, they boost collagen, speed cell turnover and lighten discolouration. Try: L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Vita Lift 5 Complete Anti-aging Eye Roll-on delivers the brand’s trademarked Pro-Retinol to the delicate eye area to help treat wrinkles, dryness and puffiness.

anti-aging arsenal.

Out, Damned Spot! You likely dread wrinkles, but studies show hyperpigmentation (a.k.a. brown spots and patches from sun exposure or acne) can be equally aging. While hydroquinone was a go-to treatment, its possible carcinogenic role has led many brands to turn to kojic acid, a skin brightener derived from mushrooms. Try: MenScience Pigmentation Repair Formula harnesses kojic acid, retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid to help diminish age spots and other discolourations (be diligent about sunscreen to prevent re-darkening) ($68,

Acid relief. For parched skin, look for a product containing hyaluronic acid. Occurring naturally in the body, hyaluronic acid lubricates joints and maintains skin’s moisture and elasticity. When applied topically, it draws water to skin, helping hydrate it and temporarily plump lines. Try: From Switzerland, Cellmen Face Ultra is an anti-aging treatment as well as an intense moisturizer. In addition to hyaluronic acid, this highly concentrated product contains stabilized integral cells and antioxidants to help fight skin damage and improve skin tone ($240 for 30 ml,

Tracy Howard, who specializes in lifestyle topics, is the creator of, a blog that takes an inside-out approach to looking and feeling good at any age. 1 2 I N M a g a z in e j a n u a r y 2 0 1 5

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17/12/2014 12:00:21 PM


O n Re l at i o n s h i ps

Single of a Certain Age → How not to be your own worst enemy By Adam Segal I am a 58-year-old gay guy who became single two years ago after my relationship of 18 years came to an abrupt end. At first, the idea of a new serious relationship was the farthest thing from my mind. But for the past year, I’ve been hoping to find love once again. The trouble is that I feel invisible in the gay scene—I walk into a bar and feel like a wrinkled dinosaur who is not remotely interesting to the guys hanging there. I’m a relatively handsome and fit guy, but I’ve gone on only one (really bad) date since the breakup. Sometimes I wonder if men around my age are already settled down or if they’re only on the hunt for fresh-faced young guys. How do I successfully find guys in a community that sees me as expired goods? Sean Dear Sean, “Expired goods” and “wrinkled dinosaur”—there’s no doubt that you’re aging yourself more than others ever could. I’m not going to pretend that certain aspects of gay culture aren’t desperately youth-obsessed, but the reality is that there are men who are finding love and sex successfully at all ages. Remember: what you tend to focus on will have a great impact on the quality of your overall life and outlook. Sure, you could obsess over all the gay-themed ads featuring 24 year olds, but doing so will keep reinforcing a false notion that only those gay-bies born in the 1990s are romantically viable as gay adults. Navigating the dating waters can feel treacherous for almost everyone. Clubs and bars can be especially intimidating as the only thing connecting people is that they are in the same space together; this makes it that much easier to feel alone and falsely assume that everyone else feels so much more comfortable than you do. So, if going to bars makes

you especially jittery, you’d be better off exploring the myriad other ways to make connections. That could be online, social groups, classes, volunteering— all venues where it’s easier to meet guys with the added bonus of an activity to focus on. As we age, our worlds can become smaller and we are less likely to meet new people. Consider chilling out on your hunt for a life-mate and focus on your social skills as much as possible. What about the ageism toward and invisibility of more mature gay guys? Just like other forms of discrimination, you will need to acknowledge it and fight for what you want. Finding ways to boost a sagging self-image (no pun intended!) will be your best tool for stepping into the world and shining brightly so you get seen in a way you deserve.

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What you focus on will have a great impact on the quality of your outlook.

13 Rel Col.dw.indd 13

Adam Segal, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mentalhealth question at

18/12/2014 9:36:36 AM


on the town by Michael Pihach


Gentlemens’ Night at The Carlu

Bloor Street Entertains at the ROM










Andre Tardif


Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives Gala at the Toronto Reference Library




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17/12/2014 12:02:39 PM


canada’s premier

LGBT lifestyle magazine 15ADPage.indd 13

19/12/2014 1:08:26 PM

Holland America 16 17 18 19 Travel.dw.indd 16

17/12/2014 12:03:14 PM

Victory at sea at Sea

A reluctant cruiser finds it’s all smooth sailing along the St. Lawrence Seaway By Jim Brosseau


y partner and I are big fans of

the majestic ship sounded, signalling our

Montreal. “So what are we

imminent departure, I wondered about the

doing here?” he asked. “Here”

uncharted waters into which my guy and I

was the deck of Holland America’s Veendam, as we prepared to set sail on the line’s St. Lawrence Seaway cruise.

were sailing. Happily, I didn’t let my anxiousness cloud the views of Montreal at dusk passing

I remember staring at the many layers of

by at eye level. As the vessel picked up

Habitat 67, the iconic waterfront apartment

steam, the city faded into a distant twinkle.

building, thinking they were a metaphor

The blackness outdoors forced us to look

for my partner’s feelings on the eve of his

inside. The happy, anticipatory sounds

first-ever cruise. He wanted to visit the

of a thousand conversations, with live

sites awaiting us over the next seven days,

background music provided by an unseen

including the old Quebec City and Peggy’s

jazz pianist, lightened our hearts. We walked

Cove in Nova Scotia. But he wasn’t sure how

idly about this floating city, just two more

he’d do on a “floating hotel,” confined with

revellers in a sea of them.

strangers on the sometimes open waters of the Atlantic.

As we docked early the next morning in Quebec City, we quickly finished our hearty

It was precisely with his misgivings in

breakfast on the Lido deck so we could get in

mind that I suggested Phil’s introduction to

as much time ashore as possible. We ambled

cruising be mostly on placid inland waters

along the narrow pedestrian-friendly streets

and then those hugging the coast once we

of the old city just as the shopkeepers were

reached the ocean.

unlocking doors and flipping light switches

His remaining concern—one we both

for the day. After an hour or so, we happened

shared as gay travellers on an overwhelmingly

upon the charming Le Lapin Sauté and

straight passenger list—was how we might

slipped inside for an early lunch of rabbit-

fit in. We’d heard reassuring words from

and-mushroom pie with fruit chutney. We

both the line’s publicity department and

felt like part of the extended family that

from friends and acquaintances who

seemed to people the country-style setting

favoured mainstream voyages to the strictly

of this 32-seat gem.

gay variety. But as we looked about, we

By now, the Museum of Civilization, just

were hard pressed to see other same-sex

steps from the docks, had opened, and we

pairs. (Had leaving dry land rendered our

took in its well-edited collection of artifacts

gaydar inoperable?) As the mighty horn of

from around the world. Its displays on fishing

16 17 18 19 Travel.dw.indd 17


17/12/2014 12:03:43 PM

Holland America (bridge); all other photos by Philip Franchini 1 8 I N M a g a z in e j a n u a r y 2 0 1 5

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17/12/2014 12:04:15 PM

→ see-worthy Holland America’s Veendam (opening page). Opposite page, clockwise from far left: old Quebec City; an outsized sculpture greets passengers in Sydney, N.S.; dusk in Montreal; the iconic lighthouse of Peggy’s Cove, N.S.

in. That night, I sifted through the

House. Yes, that’s the home at the

possibilities in the ship’s newsletter

heart of the novel about a country girl

hosted a second “Friends of Dorothy”

and settled on a game of Name That

wise beyond her years. The community

gathering. Our new besties, Jaye and

Tune. (Phil chose the solitude of

of Cavendish inspired author L.M.

Cat, were there, as well as a handful

the handsome library.) I struck up a

Montgomery to write Anne of Green

of male couples. We noticed a few

conversation with the woman seated

Gables, and readers will recognize

fellows sitting on the fringes, as if

and hunting made a good primer for

beside me, Jaye, whose companion,

familiar things amid the simply

reluctant to be identified with an LGBT

the St. Lawrence trip we’d begun.

Cat, had also opted out of socializing

furnished rooms of the old farmhouse.

group. The sight left the four of us with





Back on the ship, we dressed for

for the day. Within minutes, we were

dinner. Although we just about live

discussing the similarities between

restaurants nearby, including the

in jeans, it was a nice throwback to

our partners—and sharing laughs

homey Sutherland’s and Rachael’s.

In the town of Bar Harbor, the next

dine where jackets were expected,

about how the newsletter had billed

Most tend to be pretty touristic, but

day’s stop, we took in the pristine

if not necessarily required. The

the next evening’s LGBT gathering:

there’s something endearing about

streets of its commercial core. While

Veendam’s dining options are more

Friends of Dorothy. (Given the long-

the lively crowds chattering about

in town, make time for the waterfront

than generous, led by the sprawling

standing affection for Judy Garland

their fresh fish and the joy in seeing

path that gives you up-close views

main dining room, where the buzz

among many gays, the term refers to

this treasured patch of Canada.

of the mansions in this old-money

created by scores of diners becomes

the singer’s character in The Wizard of

The lunch crowd was a distant

community. Acadian National Park is

its own background music. Though

Oz. In the bad old days, it was code for

memory when, that night, we dined in

also not to be missed: you can book a

hundreds of meals are prepared and

homosexuality; its use today feels like

the ship’s luxurious Pinnacle Grill. The

trip on your ship or buy tickets yourself

served simultaneously, you wouldn’t

a nod to gays of a certain age.)

menu had been created with the chef

for a tour that originates in downtown





a twinge of sadness to be reminded that such anxieties still, in fact, exist.

know it by the flavourful entrées and

There were no ports of call the next

of New York’s famed Le Cirque. The

Bar Harbor. The day our open-air bus

personalized service. Phil preferred the

24 hours or so, and, looking back, that

grill’s intimate space makes it a winner

reached the park’s higher elevations—

ship’s smaller restaurants; I liked the

full day on the water was one of my

for romantic dinners, and foodies

Cadillac Mountain soars to 1,530 feet—

endless people-watching this arena-

favourites. We could peruse the ship’s

will be pleasantly surprised by such

we encountered fog that left us feeling

sized venue provided.

many attractions at our leisure. The

delectable offerings as a trio of caviar,

we’d reached the clouds.

As seasoned cruisers know, there

shopping was like a mini-version of

smoked salmon and pâté de foie gras,

are usually more activities per hour

Toronto’s Yorkville, with art galleries

as well as a tangy three-cheese ravioli.


than anyone could hope to take

and the wares of fine jewellers

(Be sure to make reservations.)

couple take to the dance floor, many

At a dance that last night aboard we




shimmering in display windows. The

On our next stop, Sydney, N.S., we

displaying the agility that comes

abundance of onboard activity helped

were greeted at the docks by a giant

with decades of kicking up their

me make good on my promise to first-

sculpted fiddle. It’s a nod to the area’s

heels together. While Phil and I like

timer Phil that he’d never be bored.

Celtic culture, proudly celebrated by the

to dance—well, I do—we were unsure

The offerings included everything

musicians who played that afternoon

about being the only same-sex couple

from lectures about the history of the

as the ship sailed away. Earlier, we’d

on the floor. That didn’t stop Jaye and

region through which we were sailing

enjoyed being our own tour guides,

Cat, who raised nary an eyebrow among

to cooking demonstrations. We found

aimlessly wandering Sydney’s quiet

the mostly straight revellers when they

comfortable seats for the latter, as

streets. For the more ambitious, there

slow-danced as the Veendam sailed to

my chef-partner never tires of things

are tours of Fortress Louisbourg, a

its final destination.

having to do with the kitchen.

reconstructed 18th-century fortified

As we gathered our bags the next

French town, or drives along the

morning in Boston, we reflected on

famously scenic Cabot Trail.

the journey we’d just taken. We would

As the journey’s sole day of nonstop sailing wrapped up, we were looking forward to seeing what the

Quaint Sydney made the next day’s

miss our morning walks on the ship’s

turnout might be at the LGBT-specific

stop, Halifax, seem like even more of

teak deck; the civility of afternoon

gathering, one of two during the cruise.

a city than it is. We took to its parks

tea following a day of touring; the

Alas, just a handful of gay passengers

and youthful energy, and felt at home

unfailing friendliness and helpfulness

appeared at the designated section of

when we saw the large LGBT selection

of the crew; the luxury of visiting

one of the bars. Fortunately, Jaye and

at a downtown bookstore. At this port

several destinations without ever

girlfriend Cat showed, as promised.

of call, visitors catch the tour bus to

having to pack or unpack a single bag.

Phil and I became fast friends with the

Peggy’s Cove. As its rock formations

But had I converted my partner?

couple, and it was the first of several

and red-domed lighthouse came into

Would we be booking passage on

“dates” we had the rest of the week.

view, I could see why people speak of

another ship anytime soon? Well,

Our next stop, on Day Three,

it in almost reverential tones. Nature

these days when I suggest a cruise

was Charlottetown, P.E.I. It was

rules: the fickle sea might unleash

for our next vacation, Phil no longer

good to walk on land again, and our

a surprise spray as you make your

changes the subject. I’ll take that as

morning excursion allowed for plenty

way toward the nearly century-old


of exercise. We strolled the rolling

lighthouse, the focal point of this lost-

grounds outside the Green Gables

in-time fishing village.

For information:

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→ Gary Serra 2 0 I N M a g a z in e j a n u a r y 2 0 1 5

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Vested in

Vancouver A seller of houses finds a dream home in his hometown By Elizabeth Raddick


ouse hunters can be forgiven for reacting with a bit of skepticism when brokers speak of a home’s “good bones.” After all, the term can sometimes be code for a house that, despite it skeletal strength, requires considerable work to make it the nest of your dreams. So it’s more than a little endearing when Vancouver Realtor Gary Serra says, “I saw that it had good bones” in speaking of the nearly 50-year-old house he acquired in 2013 in the city’s Cedar Cottage section. Indeed, in some ways, the forlorn bungalow looked as if it might be on its last legs. But the award-winning Serra’s schooled eye looked beyond the drab exterior and crumbling plaster: “I knew that I

wanted to keep the original hardwood floors, fireplace, tray ceiling and room-divider wood detail in the dining room.” And what did he wish to discard? “Almost everything else.” The editing paid off. Today, the 2,000-square-foot house, with five bedrooms, three baths and a backyard, is not only a stately standout among its neighbours but a chic retreat for its owner and his guests— not to mention Serra’s beloved nine-year-old Boston terrier, Jackson. If the six-month renovation was more than a little daunting, the result has been well worth the requisite stress. “The only second thought I had was the extent of it,” says Serra. “I’d been through just very small renos before but never one like this.” While Serra says there

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17/12/2014 12:05:17 PM

→ about-face Before-and-after photos illustrate the dramatic transformation of Serra’s 2,000-square-foot house in Vancouver’s Cedar Cottage section.

were no “big surprises” as work crews began the project, “the new plumbing was unexpected.” Plumbing, though, made way for the thoroughly updated baths and the kitchen, where gleaming fixtures and appliances blend with the house’s overall mid-century sensibility without missing a beat. The comfortable furnishings capture the 1950s and ’60s with élan, right down to the tuxedo sofa and off-white wool shag carpet.

While there are thoughtful furnishings and accents throughout the house, Serra is a selfdescribed minimalist. Still, he has collected a few meaningful pieces of art. The one most prominently displayed—on a living-room wall—is a painting by Vancouver’s Michael Edward Miller, an emerging artist whose work is influenced by technology. “The piece is done with spray paint,” notes Serra, “and reflects the early incarnations of gaming, such as Atari and Pac Man.” Though tending to the abstract, you instantly see what Serra is talking about when he describes the painting’s subject as “two intersecting hearts.” Another personal treasure is the vintage silkscreen in the dining room. Circa 1973, the work once graced an office building in Germany.

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Guests get to view Serra’s decorating taste en masse at his annual holiday party for friends and clients. The gathering is anything but spartan, with caterers overseeing the food and drink. The host’s more common parties—occurring when his busy work schedule permits them—are decidedly smaller scale. “I like casual dinners or barbecues,” says Serra. “The house is suited to my style of entertaining, because of its fairly open concept and great backyard with a deck and patio.” Although he enjoys cooking, Serra is quick to add, “I love to eat out.”

Of course, eating out isn’t always a choice when you’re the head of your own real-estate firm in a hot market. Vancouver born and bred, Serra—whose fate might have been sealed when, as a child, he held mock open houses—says the city’s real estate today is “very active, especially for detached houses.” And the thriving areas for gay men and lesbians? “Definitely East Van, the Main Street area, Mount Pleasant/Fraser, Cedar Cottage, Hastings Sunrise, Commercial Drive and Grandview.” Many of the LGBT buyers, like Serra, are

→ master of his domain The original hardwood floors shimmer in the living room (top) decorated in mid-century-modern furnishings. A grim bathroom was modernized (above left). Serra’s Boston terrier, Jackson, on the bed, has the run of the master bedroom (above).

purchasing fixer-uppers. Those homeowners would be well advised to heed the Realtor’s words: “Interview contractors, and ask for references.” And, he adds with a smile, “Double your expected budget.”

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17/12/2014 12:06:21 PM

The Techno Heave-Ho

Texting, Unfriending and other adventures in the brave new world of breaking up By Paul Gallant

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amie’s boyfriend showed up unexpectedly at his home one

Yellow roses—not the right gesture when there were angry-making

afternoon. Jamie had endured a jealousy-filled Pride weekend,

issues floating in the air around the relationship. But flowers are much

with the boyfriend of six months openly flirting with other

more thoughtful than what some gay men and lesbians have to put

guys in front of him. But there stood his sweetie, a bouquet of

up with these days when they get dumped. Breaking up is never easy,

flowers in his arms. Jaimie quickly noticed, though, that the roses were

but so many guys seem to choose the worst possible approach, causing

yellow, the colour of best wishes, not romantic red.

hurt feelings and bad karma.

“He told me he loved me as a friend, not a boyfriend,” says Jaimie,

One guy breaks the news in front of other people. Another’s

who, like the other dumped men quoted in this story, asked that his

dumping speech includes an enumeration of faults so detailed it rings

real name not be used. He was 20 at the time. “I was so mad because

with a warped glee, despite the fact that you’ve only gone on a few

he had made me feel I was crazy over Pride, when I confronted him

dates together. Another tells his friends first, who then let it slip. One

about the flirting. I just wanted to lash out at him. He liked gardening

guy interviewed for this story only figured out he had been dumped

and he had planted flowers in my backyard. Later that week, I ripped

when his boyfriend unfriended him on Facebook.

out all the flowers and poured bleach on them.”

More typical is when the dumper commits that defining and

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17/12/2014 12:08:00 PM

calls, suddenly cancelled plans and


with Matt anymore.


“The good thing about text is that it’s clean,”

might have been the signals

says Matt, who’s now in his early 30s. “You don’t

we didn’t want to see until it

have to overanalyze. Nobody has to see your

was there in our inbox, where

reaction. ‘Please just rip off the Band-Aid. Save us

everything seems more real.

all some time.’”

Brian had planned to take

Text might be clean for the person ending things,

his boyfriend of one year out

but digital actions can play havoc with real-world

for a surprise steak dinner

feelings. Matt remembers dating another guy, this

for his 40th birthday. But in

one too often focused on their future together, a

the days leading up to the

focus Matt didn’t share. Texting one day, Matt told

surprise, the boyfriend had

the guy he didn’t want to buy tickets to a concert

begun ignoring texts. When

because they weren’t refundable. “Later, I found

he did return them, he was

out he was at work and crying so much at his desk

begging off time with Brian to

he had to leave. He told people his aunt died,” says

hang out with his roommates

Matt. “My only excuse was that I was very young.”

and the friends he’d known

If many gay people have a reputation for

for 30 years. When Brian

personal drama, they’ve come by it with more

learned the boyfriend’s old

than a little validity. Some even find it irresistible.

pals were hosting some sort

Sylvain was feeling suffocated by his eight-month

of birthday gathering, he

on-again-off-again relationship. His feelings of

asked one of the roommates

frustration bubbled over one night at a dance club.

what he could do to help.

He left the club sans boyfriend, breaking up with

Awkward radio silence. Then

him by text him on the way.

a text from the boyfriend: “I don’t want you at the party.”

“I just wanted to end it and I couldn’t wait to do it,” says Sylvain. “I couldn’t find him so what

A stunned Brian recalls:

else was I supposed to do?” Of course, the answer

“I didn’t reply. There was

to his question could easily be provided by anyone

no point. I was devastated.

whose bar-hopping days took place before the

There was no logic in it. A

tech explosion.

normal person would have

Not all romantic and sexual relationships need

had the courage to have a

a formal, definitive end. After a single date, an

conversation, which made

unreturned call or text may be an appropriate way

somewhat inhumane act of our hyper-connected

me think he was a drug addict. I didn’t want to be

to demonstrate a lack of interest. After several

Whatsapp world: he breaks it off by text or email.

in a polygamist relationship with his drug-using

years together, however, anything other than a


face-to-face conversation would seem downright

“When things were good, I’m worth a thousand dollars for you to fly to England to see, but when

Ah, the friends. Gay relationships often float

cruel. The protocols for affairs ending during the

things are bad, you can’t afford to pick up the

onto a complicated web of friendships that may

cloudy period between, say, two and 10 months,

phone to call?” says Sky, a performer in his 40s who

have foundations in earlier romantic and sexual

remain unclear. “I think it’s better to speak the

was recently dumped by email after a courtship

affairs. Longtime loyalties are a pain for people

truth than have lingering feelings and doubts,”

lasting several months. “Why can’t we just have a

outside the peer group, especially when there are

says Sky. “But it takes certain skills to have

conversation like adults and talk about where we’re

no boundaries. One person in a relationship can

an uncomfortable conversation and respect a

coming from?”

feel like a guest on a TV show for which he wasn’t

person’s feelings.”

The prevalence of smartphones—and the

given the script.

Time was gay men and lesbians had more

power they give us to control, limit and avoid

Matt, who works for a music company,

practice than most at having uncomfortable

communication—may have mutated the behaviour

overheard his boyfriend talking to one of his

conversations, whether they centred on coming

of our entire society, gay and straight, making us all

roommates. When the roommate asked Matt’s

out or sending one-night stands on their merry

a little more cold-hearted. You could argue that any

“squeeze” what he was doing for his birthday, the

way. Perhaps smartphones have merely made

relationship that begins in text, as so many digital

boyfriend shot the roommate a scolding look. (Yes,

us like everyone else: clumsy and unpractised in

dates do today, might be fated to end in text.

birthday parties and other special occasions are a

negotiating matters of the heart. Separated from

But is it possible that gay men, especially those

reoccurring theme in bad breakups.) Something

the sounds and expressions that come with face-

who early in life felt rejected for who they are, have

was going on that Matt wasn’t privy to. Over

to-face communication, we can more easily forget

a deeper fear of confrontation than their straight

the next few days, the boyfriend’s demeanour

that the other person has feelings.

counterparts? While tin-ear texts figure in many

changed and his texts got more perfunctory. But

Maybe one day an app will come to our rescue.

awful gay breakup stories, these texts are often

then they grew in length, too, explaining in a long-

In the meantime, maybe we can figure out less

preceded by lots of other passive-aggressive

winded way how the boyfriend had reconnected

impersonal ways to break up. That, no doubt, will

avoidance. Unreturned or tardily returned phone

with an old flame and that he didn’t want to be

require that we set down our phones.

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17/12/2014 12:08:22 PM



Add some heat to your cold-weather wardrobe

PHOTOGRAPHY: adam webster Models: brodie and choppy (velocci models) GROOMING: monica pavez location courtesy of the Sovereign, Toronto

sweater: zara

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17/12/2014 12:08:58 PM

cardigan: hugo boss (available at holt renfrew stores across canada)

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17/12/2014 12:09:43 PM

shirt, vest: rag & bone jeans: paper denim

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17/12/2014 12:10:23 PM

shirt, tie: hugo boss scarf: holt renfrew jeans, belt: club monaco

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17/12/2014 12:11:14 PM

sweater: holt renfrew Jeans: banana republic jacket: zara scarf: nancy gropp

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17/12/2014 12:11:58 PM

Cultural Calendar

January 2015

Events of LGBT Interest Across Canada By David Wright



With nothing but a couple of Fuzzy Navels between them, two strangers meet in a bar, strike up a conversation and begin a torrid romance. Actor, playwright and artistic director Jenna Harris (pictured, left, with co-star Michelle Polak) stars in Mine, her steamy celebration of female sexuality and lesbian love, at Toronto’s Factory Studio Theatre until Jan. 17.


Community History Project





In the lead-up to Edmonton’s 35th-anniversary Pride celebration this June, members of the local gay community are being asked to contribute photos, videos and stories commemorating the people and events that helped shape the city’s LGBT identity over the past century. Come out and share your memorabilia at Queer History Days on Sunday afternoons, Jan. 11, 18 and 25 at Stanley Milner Library.

Jazz prodigy Nikki Yanofsky kicks off her cross-Canada Kaboom Pow— The Little Secret Tour in Quebec City, introducing audiences to a polished new sound honed under the guidance of her megastar mentor, Quincy Jones. With appearances in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and stops in between, the show wraps up in Vancouver on Feb. 4.




Enjoy an afternoon of classical music inspired by some of the Bard’s best-known plays. Featuring works by composers from Verdi (Falstaff: Nanetta’s Aria) to Prokofiev (Romeo and Juliet), The World of Shakespeare comes to life at the Orpheum Theatre under the direction of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s associate conductor, Gordon Gerrard (pictured).

In a tribute to the King of Pop, Symphony Nova Scotia has teamed up with the Jeans ’n Classics band to present The Music of Michael Jackson at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax. Selections include symphonic variations of Thriller, Billie Jean and Beat It performed like you’ve never heard them before.

Art Exhibition

Visit the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ont., this month to see why the 17th century is considered the Dutch Golden Age of Painting. Artists in Amsterdam features works by recognized luminaries such as Rembrandt, along with those of his colleagues, rivals and less-known contemporaries.

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17/12/2014 12:12:46 PM



Mump & Smoot are back with a brand-new clown show called Anything, premiering at the Martha Cohen Theatre as part of Calgary’s High Performance Rodeo arts festival. Combining razor-sharp wit and bawdy humour, one of Canada’s most irreverent duos will slay audiences and sacred cows alike.


Photography From Hollywood studio portraits to film-set photos, Burn with Desire documents the camera’s crucial role in defining glamour in the 20th century. View this trove of rare images—including Edward Steichen’s iconic shot of silent-film star Gloria Swanson and Dominique Berretty’s candid glimpse of screen goddess Sophia Loren (pictured)— at the Ryerson Image Centre in downtown Toronto until April.

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There’s something for everyone at the weeklong Whistler Pride and Ski Festival in British Columbia’s LGBT-friendliest alpine resort town. Hit the slopes on skis and snowboards by day, revel in Happy Hour events après-ski and enjoy a stellar lineup of talent after dark (including a Night of Comedy with Margret Cho, pictured).

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Davisville | Yorkville | Bayview Village | Erin Mills | Port Credit | Burlington | Woodbridge | Oakville

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18/12/2014 4:34:26 PM

FLASHBACK January 1974 in LGBT herstory

Ladies’ Might


n a January night in 1974, four women decided they’d had enough. When ordered to leave a Toronto bar after singing a lesbian-themed song in a contest, the ensuing arrests and media coverage marked the start of a new, more assertive era in Canadian LGBT liberation. Dubbed “The Brunswick Four”—the name inspired by the tavern where they’d congregated—the defiant women showed that sometimes a simple song can become a battle cry.

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