lavelle toronto

Toronto club takes heat for saying two men can't enter without a woman

A sign that said "Every two male guests must be accompanied by one female guest," was posted on the door of Lavelle, a rooftop pool bar on King West, last weekend.

"No exceptions," it said in bold text underneath.

When Dale McDermott passed by the club on his way to work earlier this week, he took a double take. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community who just attended an event at Lavelle for Pride Month, he felt the sign was "blatant discrimination."

"It essentially means a male gay couple could not attend the club," said McDermott. Despite their intentions, the sign was "definitely offensive" in his view.

A representative from Lavelle acknowledged that they'd expected to receive some backlash for the sign, but that it was put up as a safety measure.

There has apparently been an upswing in gangs trying to enter the club over the past month, according to a representative, and the "every two male guests must be accompanied by one female" sign was not an actual policy. Instead, it was meant as a tactic to deter gang activity.

"It is not actually a rule that we follow," one of the directors said. "It is just a way to quickly diffuse gang violence."

According to this representative, the gang members that were trying to enter the club were all male.

"Gang members are not all males," detective David Coffey from the Toronto Police Services 14-division explains. Hypothetically, even if they were, he adds that "gang members have girlfriends."

There has been no more gang violence in the downtown area than there has been any other summer, according to Coffey.

There was a shooting in Kensington Market earlier this week and at Queen and Ossington last week.

"It's a sad thing to say but this is a normal summer occurrence. There hasn't been any violent uptick compared to other summers," Coffey said.

According to Lavelle, "This is a King Street issue."

When five other major clubs on King West were contacted, none of their staff conveyed that there has been any surge in gang violence.

"I'm not surprised people aren’t commenting on it," the Lavelle rep said.

The "every two males guests must be accompanied by one female" sign has now been taken down.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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