Movement launched to save long-standing Calgary queer space The Backlot

A proposed development in Calgary's downtown jeopardizes the future of a decades-old gay bar

Photo via Facebook.

As a city that's never had a queer-leaning neighbourhood like Church-Wellesley in Toronto or Vancouver's Davie Village, Calgary's queer-run establishments have always been few and far between.

As it stands, there are just three queer bars operating in the city. That (already low) number may drop to two come the end of 2023 as The Backlot's lease is set to be terminated in November to make way for a proposed land redevelopment.

Queer politician and lawyer David Khan has started a social media campaign encouraging Calgarians to step up and submit comments in opposition to the city's development permit process that will potentially lead to a new condo building and main street business spaces for lease.

Comments can be submitted online with a deadline of this Friday. Further details can be found on the Save The Backlot Bar Facebook group.

"Calgary has historically struggled to be inclusive and queer-friendly, as exemplified recently by the demonstrations and threats of violence against drag events in our city. The Backlot provides a safe and welcoming space for our community to socialize," said Khan in a post i the newly-created Facebook group. "The loss of The Backlot will seriously harm our community. I implore the City to reject this proposed development as it is currently conceived."

Opened in 1977, but operating in its current location since 1996, The Backlot is located at 209 10 Ave S.W. and has been a safe and hospitable gathering place for queer Calgarians and visitors alike for nearly 50 years. It's amassed a huge following over time and is frequented by a wide range of queer Calgarians and allies.