GO Centre: 160 Chapel Street

The newly created Gays of Ottawa organization organized its first gay dance at 160 Chapel Street in Pestalozzi College on June 17, 1972, with over 100 people attending. 

Because the space is licenced, GO was able to run many popular dances here until January 1975, when the liquor board deemed the building residential and not commercial. 

Shortly after in August the same year, they open up an educational and counselling centre in suite 601, moving from the basement of St. George's. It becomes the organization's first real Centre, where they operate the Gayline peer-support line and open a lending library.

The GO Info newsletter publishes its first issue (it becomes a monthly periodical shortly after) in July 1972 just before the move. John Duggan recalls the 'hippie' atmosphere of the College at that time. 

Two significant cases that GO gets involved in during this period are the firing of John Damian, a horse jockey, for being gay, and the so-called 'Vice Ring' case where the names, addresses and employers of almost 20 men who were brought up on charges of 'gross indecency' were released by the police and published in the press. Warren Zufelt committed suicide as a direct result of this, and GO successfully raised funds to support the other accused, as well as protesting the police and media handing of the matter.

If you know more details about this place, please email info@bankstreet.ca to share dates, facts, images or more.



160 Chapel Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 5Y9