A photograph of Montréal from the water at sunset.

June, a welcome sight with its sunshine-filled days and (what would usually be) the promise of summer holidays! Although the UK at least faces many restrictions on where you can travel right now, hopefully, these won’t last for too much longer. June also brings with it a celebration of all thing’s LGBTQ+ with Pride Month, celebrated around the world. This month, at Ultimate Library, we wanted to celebrate Pride Month by finding the best places to travel to for the LGBTQ+ community. Following 2020, in which lots of big events were cancelled or postponed indefinitely it is important to have these community events in any way you can. We can save the big parties for when things are safer.

The Search for a Destination

Starting our investigation into the best holiday destination for LGBTQ+ people, we looked at the safest places around the world. Thankfully, there are many countries around the world with protections enshrined in law that top the discrimination of LGBQT+ people. However, there are still many places in the world, some considered standard holiday destinations, in which it is still illegal or even punishable by death to be gay or bisexual or transgender. We started this search by looking at the Asher and Lyric Fergusson study into travel safety around the world. They use different metrics to see what laws are in place, the general public’s opinion and whether any propaganda and morality laws prevent discussion of pro-LGBTQ+ issues. Using this handy guide, we found that Canada is actually the safest place for the LGBTQ+ community to travel to. There are many laws to protect from discrimination and the public response when asked is that the resident LGBTQ+ feel very safe and comfortable living there.

The cover of the book 'Out North: An Archive of Queer Activism and Kinship' by Craig Jennex and Nisha Eswaran. It features black text on a pink background surrounded by pin badges for many different LGBQT+ causes.

You can find a great history of the LGBQT+ communities’ history and story in Canada with the book Out North: An Archive of Queer Activism and Kinship in Canada by Craig Jennex and Nisha Eswaran. Canada has a long history of supporting LGBTQ+ rights and ensuring there are legal protections in place. These rights came from a longstanding battle by the community similar to those that have happened across the world.

The Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

Our area of choice in Canada for your next visit would be Montréal. While not Canada’s capital, Montréal is the country’s cultural capital and features the unique French-Canadian sophistication. Our hotel of choice is Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth. Situated at the centre of the city, it’s perfect for exploring the rich history and beautiful art that Montréal has to offer. The hotel itself is perfect for both a couples retreat or a family holiday with amazing restaurants and a tranquil spa. Ultimate Library ensured that every visit allows guests to really engage with their surroundings through the intelligent and entertaining library for Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth’s Gold Lounge. With titles in English and French and covering subjects from history to smart thinking, there is something to inspire everyone.

A photograph of the gold lounge at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, showing tables and a reading area with sofas.

Montréal is a city of many different parts, perfect for holiday-makers to explore. Old Montréal is the perfect place to learn about the city’s history and travel out of the modern into the past. Located at the port the Rue du Port de Montréal is one of the most picturesque places in the city, with cobblestone streets and cruise boats all along the quay. Mont-Royal is another special part of the city that influences the whole landscape around it. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the park is the perfect place to enjoy sports and find hidden gems like the Chalet du Mont-Royal where you can see big-band concerts. The Fairmont library complements these locations perfectly. It holds titles on Canadian history and the wider natural area with books such as The Native Trees of Canada by Leanna Shapton.

For those less inclined to spend their days hiking up the mountain or trawling the streets, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth has the excellent Moment Spa on offer. This is the best way to relax, with many different packages available and amenities such as an indoor pool and jacuzzi. The Moment Spa is accompanied by books on wellness so guests can learn more about mindfulness or the importance of a good night’s sleep.

Le Village

One other reason to visit Montréal, especially for the LGBTQ+ community, is to see the biggest gay village in Northern America. Le Village stands proudly (if you’ll excuse the pun) in the heart of Montréal with bright colours and vibrant hangouts bringing joie de vivre to any holiday. Go have drag brunch with some of Canada’s best drag queen such as Rita Baga and Kiara as featured on Canada’s Drag Race. Obviously, this is all future planning for when everything is open again, but one of the best ways to join in in Montréal with the LGBTQ+ community is by celebrating with Fierté Montréal. Held in August this year, celebrations take place over 7 days including free shows, panels and of course the Parade! This festival is the biggest in the Francophone world, bringing together over 2 million people from different walks of life.

A photograph of the rainbow coloured decorations covering the streets for Montreal's Pride Parade for LGBTQ+ people.

Fierté Montréal is just the last in a long list of reasons to visit Montréal and the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth. With so much to do for everyone, from families to couples or solo travellers, this is a great travel destination once the world opens up again.