Shades - The Vault

Ottawa's first gay-owned bar

Shades was on the second floor of a building that was torn down, so what you'll see now the Laurier House, which occupies a much larger section of the block.

Opened in Jan or Feb of 1982 by Les McAfee and Bill McBurney, it became Ottawa's first gay-owned gay bar, lasting for a little over four years before closing in May or Jun of 1986 when the building was sold for re-development.

It was a popular spot during its time and was described as clean and bright, as opposed to the nearby 166B. The space was a restaurant during the day and became a dance club at night. Bartender Willy Wilgress was very popular with the crowd.

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196 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON K1P 6M7