GO Centre: 318 Lisgar Street

The GO Centre would find what would be its final home in April of 1985, opening officially in November 1986. The space moved west on Lisgar to number 318, near Bank Street, and was above a laundromat. The landlord and owner of the laundromat was difficult, and particularly had a problem with the gay men who came there, causing a lot of conflict

Kerry Beckett, who helped organize a group of lesbians she calls the 'bar dykes', has called this location the 'Lavender Laundrette'. The bar was bigger in the new space, which was good because it helped fund the activities of the organization, along with the rent coming in from PTS.

People in the community still talk about the stairs up to the 318 Lisgar Centre—either of their fear of going up the stairs to enter a queer space for the first time, or because of the long lineups that would form down the stairs during dances because the space could only accommodate 75 people. People just waited and socialized on the stairs until someone left and they were able to come in.

In July, 1985, Barry Deeprose of GO proposes an AIDS Committee of Ottawa, with friend Bob Read seconding the motion. The new group's first meeting on October 9, 1985 draws huge crowds as so little information was out there regarding the epidemic.

GO changes their name to Association of Lesbians and Gays (ALGO) in 1989, the same year of the first Pride Parade, then to Association of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals (ALGBO) in 1993. It eventually winds down operations in 1995. 

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



318 Lisgar Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 1T6