As familiar as downtown Edmonton is for us, there’s a downtown map on the Edmonton Queer History Project website that marks another layer of history.
The Edmonton Queer History Project (EQHP) began back in 2015 as an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta. The idea was to tell the stories about queer life in our city, visible and hidden. Beginning last year, the EQHP designed a downtown history walk map, a podcast, and an official website for people to interact with. With 27 sites on the printable map, the project leads free walking and bus tours over the summer, set in downtown where the queer community is the most visible and gathered.
“The responses have been wonderful,” says Dr. Kristopher Wells, project lead of Edmonton Queer History Project. “People are interested in our interactive website, and they can download the tour map for their use. All we want to do is to help people have access to the queer history in Edmonton. It’s something we need to continually work on.”
Wells believes that curated tours for smaller-sized groups are better for people to interact with each other, so the walking tours have no more than 20 people, and no more than 40 for the bus tours. Each guided tour runs approximately 90 minutes in length. The tour also provides ASL interpretation.
Looking forward to expanding the tours, Wells mentions that the EQHP is in touch with the Old Strathcona community league for arranging tours along Whyte Ave. Those who visit Edmonton nowadays can also grab a queer history downtown map at the Edmonton International Airport.
“It’s particularly important for young people to know the queer history, to know how many rights we have today were more like utopian dreams a few decades ago. And those who marched in and protested for basic human rights in our community should be remembered.”
Join the free Edmonton Queer History Walking and Bus Tour series with multiple dates available throughout summer.