Both gay travel and destination weddings mean big business to the travel industry — but what about same-sex destination weddings?

Well, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there that Canada has enjoyed a tourism influx in the last few years from couples looking to get hitched here.

But we were surprised to find that more provincial tourism boards aren’t going all-out to attract their share of gay wedding travellers. After all, much of New England now recognizes same-sex marriages, so Canada can’t afford to rest on its laurels:?The competition to provide a dream wedding destination to same-sex couples is only going to heat up.

That said, we were still able to locate a fair few gay wedding organizers and related resources online from across the country. Here’s what we’ve found:

With a vibrant GBLT community and a variety of same-sex wedding organizers, you’d think Toronto would have sewn up the market on gay weddings in the province. Indeed, plenty of folks do arrange to get married here during Pride Week (and some travel agencies offer packages designed specifically with that aim in mind.

But Toronto does not have the market sewn up — we easily found wedding planners who organize same-sex weddings in cities from Ottawa to Hamilton.

In fact, when Lynn Warren and Alex Ali of the Amazing Race got married in a highly publicized ceremony at the Ottawa Congress Centre in June 2005, Jantine Van Kregten, director of communications for Ottawa Tourism came up with a pretty smart way of selling her destination as a same-sex wedding haven.

As she told Extra, “Our selling point is not, ‘Hey, come and discover the 12 million bars that we have, or the nightlife scene,’” (saying) that Ottawa doesn’t really have a strongly-anchored gay village to promote. “What we are offering is a safe, comfortable, welcoming, active and proud community.” Van Kregten pointed to the more than 80 differing community organizations that will welcome those tourists with open arms.”



Other Ontario cities:



Look out, Canada — the folks behind Winnipeg’s PrideBride have been able to attract travellers by touting their destination’s “extreme beauty,” among other advantages.

As they explained to “Unlike Montreal, paperwork is quicker to complete in Winnipeg, so you only need to be in the province of Manitoba for 24 hours before the wedding.”

British Columbia

To bolster its case, British Columbia not only has spectacular scenery and a strong gay community — it also has influential friends. When William Woods, considered to be “the father of gay marriage” in the U.S., got married in Vancouver in August, 2003, he said the city should become the gay marriage capital of the world.

Alberta (offices in Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria)

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia can not only boast the country’s first same-sex military, RCMP and MP weddings, but it was also the site where 10 couples from Rosie O’Donnell’s R Family Vacations cruise in 2005 disembarked to get married.

If you’d like to get married at the same place they did, book a spot at Halifax’s famous Pier 21,