“A place of our own”: Club ‘70, Womonspace, and the Creation of Queer Social Spaces in Edmonton


  • Megan Sparrow University of Alberta




Queer History, Community-building, Edmonton


While queer history is an ever-expanding field, academic attention has primarily been focused on larger cities such as New York and Vancouver. However, there is immense value in studying the queer histories of smaller, more traditionally conservative areas such as Edmonton; without also centering these areas in historical research, it is impossible to develop a nuanced understanding of the various challenges that queer Canadians have historically faced. This paper aims to contribute to the larger field of Canadian queer history by highlighting a portion of Edmonton’s (often overlooked) history. 

The organizations discussed in this paper - Club ‘70 and Womonspace - constituted some of the earliest formal social spaces available to queer Edmontonians. Each organization addressed slightly different needs; Club ‘70 provided a space for all queer Edmontonians to socialize, whereas Womonspace was founded specifically as a lesbian-focused organization. The existence of these social spaces allowed for queer Edmontonians to connect with each other and find community at a time when the broader political climate was not especially welcoming. Both organizations significantly expanded the social opportunities available to queer Edmontonians, and broadened the scope of LGBTQ+ organizational activities across the prairies. By facilitating socialization and providing a space for members to be their authentic selves, both Club ‘70 and Womonspace contributed to the development of an interconnected and distinctive “queer community” in Edmonton.