The ArQuives: Canada's LGBTQ2+ Archives, formerly known as the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, is a Canadian non-profit organization, founded in 1973 as the Canadian Gay Liberation Movement Archives, that acquires, preserves, and provides public access to material on the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit communities in Canada and internationally.
Library materials at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
|Type||Archive organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Purpose||advocate and public voice, educator and network|
|Headquarters||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
The ArQuives were established in 1973 by The Body Politic's editorial collective (also known as the Pink Triangle Press). Originally named the "Canadian Gay Liberation Movement Archives", the organization became the "Canadian Gay Archives" in 1975; established a separate collective in 1976; incorporated in 1980; received charitable status in 1981; formed a Board of Directors in 1992; and adopted the name "Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives" in 1993.
Beginning as a one-cupboard reference collection co-housed with Pink Triangle Press, the ArQuives relocated to an independent location on Temperance Street in downtown Toronto in 1992.
In November 2005, the ArQuives moved to a temporary location at 65 Wellesley Street in the city's Church and Wellesley gay village, launched a fundraising campaign, and began the search for a permanent home in the same area. The historic Jared Sessions house at 34 Isabella Street, built in 1860, was donated to the ArQuives by the city's Children's Aid Society (CAS) after CAS began construction on a newer, larger building next door. After major renovations to 34 Isabella Street, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives re-opened in September 2009. In December 2016, the Archives received a $50,000 grant from Toronto City Council to improve the building's accessibility for people with disabilities.
Today the ArQuives host a reading room and rare book library, vertical file room, offices, AV room, and gallery space for exhibitions. Additional holdings remain at 65 Wellesley and in deep storage.
At their AGM in May 2018, after a year-long consultation process, they announced that they had changed their name to "The ArQuives: Canada's LGBTQ2+ Archives".
The ArQuives was established in order to "preserve, organize, and give public access to information and materials in any medium, by and about LGBT people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada". As such, the ArQuives' collections are not limited to traditional printed material, but instead contain many diverse collections.
In addition to traditional printed material (over 3000 books, diaries, booklets, leaflets, programmes, zines, press clippings, etc.), the ArQuives collects artifacts that would normally be considered museum objects to capture specific moments in the history of the lesbian and gay community. Such artifacts include:
- Banners and flags
- Buttons and pins
- Leather items
- Matchbooks and matchboxes
The ArQuives have acquired over 500 original works of art from within the LGBT community. These are primarily paper or canvas works, and the emphasis is historical. Examples include:
- Costumes, drawings and photographs by Ronald McRae
- Paintings by JAC, the artist collective of John Grube, Alex Liros and Clarence Barnes
- Works exhibited by Gallery Without Walls
- Submissions for Toronto's AIDS Memorial
Containing more than 2000 hours of sound on tapes and over 1300 discs, the ArQuives house LPs, gramophone records, cassettes, and CDs. Much of this material is vocal or instrumental recordings of lesbian and gay performers, but there is also a significant library of taped interviews and radio programs. The ArQuives also has over 150 oral histories in its collections, including the Foolscap Gay Oral History Project (over 125 interviews with gay men, conducted in the 1980s, about gay life in Toronto before Stonewall); the Lesbians Making History project (approximately 8 interviews with lesbians, conducted in the 1980s, about lesbian life in Toronto in the decades before 1985); and the Trans Health Care Activism in Ontario oral history project (8 interviews about activism from the late 1990s through 2008).
The collection's moving images collection includes more than 2200 items, in 8 mm film and 16 mm film, Betamax, VHS, and DVD formats. While there are feature films, documentaries, and erotica housed in the Archives, there are also videos shot at lesbian and gay community events. Because of its extensive video and film collection, the Archives are often used to provide source material for Canadian film projects, such as Forbidden Love.
National Portrait CollectionEdit
Established in 1998, the National Portrait Collection honours individuals who have contributed to the growth and development of the LGBT community in Canada. Currently, the collection holds 75 portraits in various mediums, including photography, watercolour, and oil.
As of 2016, people depicted in the portrait collection include Elmer Bagares, Chris Bearchell, Rick Bébout, Anne Bishop, Persimmon Blackbridge, Nicole Brossard, Alec Butler, Bernard Courte, Harold Desmarais, C.M. Donald, Michelle Douglas, John Duggan, Sara Ellen Dunlop, Jim Egan, Gloria Eshkibok, Lynne Fernie, John Fisher, Janine Fuller, Richard Fung, Amy Gottlieb, John Greyson, Brent Hawkes, Gens Hellquist, Tomson Highway, Charlie Hill, George Hislop, Richard Hudler, David Kelley, Robert Laliberté, k.d. lang, Denis Leblanc, John Alan Lee, Bev Lepischak, Alan Li, Michael Lynch, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Jovette Marchessault, Tim McCaskell, Mary Meigs, Billy Merasty, Robin Metcalfe, Peter Millard, Bonte Minnema, Jearld Moldenhauer, Shani Mootoo, Alex Munter, Pat Murphy, Glen Murray, Nancy Nicol, Richard North, Keith Norton, Carmen Paquette, Carole Pope, Ken Popert, Kyle Rae, Rupert Raj, Neil Richards, Marie Robertson, Svend Robinson, Gerry Rogers, Jane Rule, Craig Russell, Kyle Scanlon, Shyam Selvadurai, Makeda Silvera, Mary-Woo Sims, Tim Stevenson, Douglas Stewart, Barbara Thornborrow, Shelley Tremain, Susan Ursel, Chris Vogel, Delwin Vriend, Tom Warner and Douglas Wilson.
The ArQuives contains the largest collection of LGBT periodicals at an independent archives in the world, with over 9500 individual titles. The ArQuives also house a general collection of periodicals not specifically produced for the LGBT community, but concerning feminism, the arts, and alternative culture that include LGBT issues and an indication of changing attitudes in mainstream media.
Personal and organizational recordsEdit
The Archives holds records of Canadian LGBT organizations, as well as the personal records of prominent Canadians active in, or significant to, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and two-spirit communities. This includes
- AIDS Action Now! fonds
- AIDS Committee of Toronto fonds
- Billeh Nickerson fonds
- Cabbagetown Group Softball League fonds
- Carroll Holland fonds
- Charlie David fonds
- David Pepper fonds
- Duane "Andy" Anderson fonds
- Gay and Lesbian Alliance at Stanford fonds
- Gay and Lesbian Organization of Bell Employees (GLOBE) fonds
- Gregory Pavelich fonds
- Harold Desmarais fonds
- Helen Lenskyj fonds
- John Alan Lee fonds
- Khush: South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association fonds
- Kyle Rae fonds
- Lesbian Outdoor Group fonds
- Mary Woo Sims fonds
- Mirha-Soleil Ross fonds
- R. Douglas Elliott fonds
- Ron Rosenes fonds
- Rupert Raj fonds
- Tim McCaskell fonds
- Tony Farebrother fonds
- Valerie Dugale fonds
- William Atkinson fonds
Beginning as the photo files for The Body Politic, the Archives grew around the photograph collection, and while many of the items are not yet cataloged due to the high number of entries, the Archives houses over 7000 individual items in various mediums, including prints, negatives, and halftone reproductions.
In terms of scope, the photographs depict the LGBT community in a broad sense: photographs of demonstrations, conferences, social events, performances, and police harassment, as well the LGBT community's personal, domestic, and social lives.
The ArQuives currently hold over 30,000 vertical files on people, groups, and events affecting the LGBT community. Unlike most of the Archives, the vertical files provide information about an individual or organization, rather than information produced by the individual or organization. The vertical files contain approximately fifty percent Canadian content and fifty percent international content.
With an additional mandate to exhibit work that honours LGBT community and encourages dialogue, the Archives has a vibrant exhibition programme. A sample of past exhibitions includes:
- We Could Be Heroes (Just For One Day) (March to May 2016)
- Queering Space (June to September 2015)
- Marked: Tattoos & Queer Identity (April to May 2015)
- Code, Read: Hollywood's Hays Code and the Queer Stereotypes of the Silver Screen (February to March 2015)
- Butch: Not Like the Other Girls (November 2014 to January 2015)
- Rocking the Boat: Celebrating Queer Content in Canadian Concert Dance (November 2013 to April 2014)
- Colour Coded: queer abstraction meets fruity frosting (September to November 2013)
- Gay Premises: Radical Voices in the Archives, 1973-1983 and TAG TEAM: Gay Premises (June to September 2013)
- Public Sins / Private Desires: Tracing Lesbian Lives in the Archives, 1950 - 1980 (June to August 2012)
- CENSORED LIVES: Suppression, resistance and free speech (June to September 2010)
- National Portrait Collection (September 2009 to November 2010)
The ArQuives' outreach initiatives include tours and study opportunities for undergraduates.
- "Toronto's gay archive getting an upgrade". CBC News, January 5, 2017.
- "This spring the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives is embracing change and a new name:". The ArQuives. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- Sheffield, R. (2015). The Emergence, Development and Survival of Four Lesbian and Gay Archives (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). University of Toronto, Toronto
- "TOBuilt: Toronto's Oldest Buildings". www.tobuilt.ca. Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- "34 Isabella Street Grand Opening". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "About Us". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Artifacts". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Artwork". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Audio". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "MAPPING FOOLSCAP: GAY ORAL HISTORIES, 1981-1987". The ArQuives Digital Exhibits. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- "LESBIANS MAKING HISTORY: ORAL HISTORY PROJECT". The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- "TRANS HEALTH CARE ACTIVISM IN ONTARIO, 1998-2008". The ArQuives. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- "Moving Images". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Film Makers and the CGA". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. November 1992. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "National Portrait Collection". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Periodicals". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Collections". ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
- "General Periodicals". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Collections". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "AIDS Action Now! Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "AIDS Committee of Toronto fonds". Archeion. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
- "Billeh Nickerson Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Cabbagetown Group Softball League fonds". Archeion. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
- "Carroll Holland Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Charlie David Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "David Pepper Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Duane "Andy" Anderson Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Gay and Lesbian Alliance at Stanford Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Gay and Lesbian Organization of Bell Employees (GLOBE) Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Gregory Pavelich Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Harold Desmarais Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Helen Lenskyj Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "John Alan Lee Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Khush: South Asian Gay Men of Toronto Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Kyle Rae Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Lesbian Outdoor Group Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Mary Woo Sims Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "R. Douglas Elliott Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Ron Rosenes Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Rupert Raj Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Tim McCaskell Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Tony Farebrother Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Valerie Dugale Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "William Atkinson Fonds". Archeion. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Photographs". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Posters". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Vertical files". Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- Zieman, K. (2009). Youth outreach initiatives at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. Archivaria, 68, 311-317.
- Fraser, James; Averill, Harold (1983). Organizing an archives: The Canadian Gay Archives experience. Toronto: Canadian Gay Archives. ISBN 978-0969098119.
- Jackson, Ed; Persky, Stan (1982). Flaunting it!: A decade of gay journalism from the Body politic : an anthology. Vancouver: New Star Books. ISBN 978-0919888319.
- Zieman, Kate (Fall 2009). "Youth Outreach Initiatives at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives". Archivaria (68): 311–317. Retrieved 5 May 2017.