Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives - Community Centres


Giovanni's Room, Exterior


Giovanni's Room sign


Giovanni's Room, Interior

Many organizations in the late 1970s operated in temporary locations or had concerns about the long-term conditions for providing resources to the community with permanent gay spaces. Organizations like Project Lambda and the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society formed in order to raise funds to build a gay community centre. Eventually, by 1982 Giovanni’s Room was opened on the second floor of 275 Sherbrook Street and Happenings Social Club moved to 272 Sherbrook Street, calling the building Sum Quod Sum (I Am What I Am).


Winnipeg Gay Centre Library


Reverend Ted Millward

These gay community spaces eventually formed the beginnings of the Winnipeg Gay Centre. In April 1983, GFE left its office at the University of Manitoba to move into the community centre where it provided the same info-line services and maintained a lending library donated by the Council on Homosexuality and Religion member Reverend Ted Millward. The Gay Community Centre held meetings for organizations such as the two-spirited aboriginal peer support group Nichiwakan Gay & Lesbian Society as well as various counselling sessions. Giovanni’s Room later moved to 616 Broadway Avenue in 1986 and became the city’s prominent gay bar. Both GFE and Council on Homosexuality and Religion received federal funding from the province for their community-oriented research and outreach programs, demonstrating the shift in government policy toward homosexuals. In 1988, the Winnipeg Gay and Lesbian Resource Centre moved to 222 Osborne St. where it remained until 1999. It was renamed the Rainbow Resource Centre and moved to 170 Scott St. where it continues to this day as the hub for gay and lesbian community organizing in Winnipeg.

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