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City of Edmonton Archives
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University of Alberta Gay Organizations

The Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE) organization, described in Series 1, had its beginnings as a campus-centered group in that its meeting space was adjacent to the campus, and early members of the group were primarily University of Alberta students and faculty. By the late 1970’s, GATE had moved downtown, and in 1978 the short-lived Edmonton Lesbian and Gay Rights Organization (ELGRO) registered as the first queer official student club. In 1984, 75 students formed GALOC (Gays and Lesbians on Campus) and an early initiative was publishing The Pink Triangle, a gay oriented supplement to the student newspaper The Gateway. GALOC launched Gay and Lesbian Awareness (GALA) week ca. 1985, as the University of Alberta’s first Pride celebration. In the fall of 1994, GALOC rebranded itself as LesBiGay UofA, and the name changed again in 1995 to B-Glad. Since the 1990’s there have been several queer based groups organized on campus, and in 2008, the Institute for Sexual Minority Policies and Services was established as a research centre in the Faculty of Education. (Information referenced from Bruce Cinnamon’s article found at

This series consists of just five files, but as records accrue, this series is expected to expand. The extant files are all related to GALOC except for one poster pertaining to Women’s Studies on campus. GATE records are described in Series 1, and editions of the Pink Triangle newspaper are listed as part of Series 13. Campus Pride Festival events and activities were kept where they were originally located with the Pride planning files described in Series 5. Finally, one file related to ELGRO mentioned in the history is located with Box 36, folder 54).

Ivor Dent

Ivor Dent was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1924. He moved to Edmonton in 1952, and eventually earned a Ph.D. in educational administration. He worked for the Edmonton Public School Board as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, and was President of Alberta’s New Democratic Party.

After several years of unsuccessful municipal and federal campaigns, Ivor Dent was elected as an Alderman in 1963, and twice more in 1964 and 1966. In 1968 he was elected Mayor, and was re-elected in 1971, but lost to William Hawrelak in 1974.
Ivor Dent passed away in Edmonton in 2009.

The series consists of correspondence, engagements, speeches, brochures, and various reports on subjects ranging from social conditions to infrastructure and economic development in Edmonton.

The series also includes photos of Ivor Dent and Clennell Hagerston “Punch” Dickins (EA-353-5, EA-353-8, EA-353-9, EA-353-10, EA-353-11).

Community Services

This series of records is related to the Commissioners’ role of overseeing services for the citizens of Edmonton, from recreation and parks to relief during hard times. This series of records consists of those service branches dealing directly with the day to day needs of Edmontonians. This series contains the following sub-series:

– 7.1 Parks
– 7.2 Recreation Facilities
– 7.3 Health and Emergency Services
– 7.4 Welfare

Sporting Associations

In May of 1980, writes Rick Hurlbut, a group of gay men met to discuss the need for organized recreation opportunities for gay men and women in Edmonton. (See Box 15, folder 2) The group began by organizing some pick-up baseball games followed by social gatherings, and named their club the ‘Edmonton Roughnecks Recreation Association’ (ERRA). At the end of that first season, the Roughnecks participated in a city fastball tournament celebrating Alberta’s 75th Anniversary. The Club was incorporated in February, 1981, and went on to offer sporting leagues for volleyball (introduced in the winter of 1980-81) and Gymnastics (only ran for one season, ca. 1982). The Club trained for and participated in several local, national, and international sporting tournaments, and also entered teams in the Gay Games. Their newsletter was eventually spun off into an independent, and Edmonton’s first gay newspaper, called Fine Print. ERRA appears to have folded ca. 1987; a TEAM Edmonton Gay and Sports Association was active in the 1990’s, and then re-establishes in 2006, with the shared purpose of providing sports and recreation options for Edmonton’s LGBTQ community. A wide variety of LGBQT sports options are available in Edmonton today.

This series consists of two sub-series: the Edmonton Roughnecks Recreation Association (ERRA) and a subseries of Sporting Associations/Gay Games records. The ERRA records include administrative files, promotional materials, tournament information, and framed and matted team photographs. There are also photographs of social activities, and a framed set of volleyball tournament medals. Included are items of ERRA clothing, including a tee shirt, baseball pants, and baseball socks. The gay games are represented in 6 files (dating 1984-1994), and there is 1 file concerning the Gay and Lesbian Sports Council of Edmonton. Finally there are two files documenting two fundraising events that featuring Olympic athlete, Mark Tewksbury.

Terry Cavanaugh

Terence (Terry) James Cavanaugh was born in Edmonton in 1926. He first ran for municipal office in 1968, but did not win a seat as an Alderman. He ran again in 1971, this time winning a seat, and was re-elected as an Alderman in 1974. When William Hawrelak died in office in 1975, Terry Cavanaugh was chosen by City Council to serve as Mayor until the 1977 election. Although he ran for Mayor in 1977, he lost to Cec Purves.

Terry Cavanaugh ran again for Council several years later, winning a seat in 1983 and again in 1986. When Mayor Laurence Decore stepped down to run for the Alberta Liberal Party, Cavanaugh was selected by Council to serve as Mayor, but was defeated by Jan Reimer in the 1989 election.

Cavanaugh was elected to Council again in 1992, and was re-elected in 1995, 1998, 2001, and 2004. He retired from municipal politics after deciding not to run in the 2007 election.

The series consists of correspondence, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, speeches, reports relating to Edmonton’s economic and social development, and a diary and daily journal of appointments for the Mayor.

The series also includes photos of Terry and June Cavanaugh (EA-353-6 and EA-353-7), and a photo album called “The Edmonton Era: 10 Years of Triumph” presented by Mayor Cavanaugh, City Council, and the Citizens of Edmonton to Wayne Gretzky.


During the two World Wars the Commissioners took on a variety of duties relating to providing services to Edmontonians, serving as liaison for the delivery of Federal initiatives and monitoring threats to civilians and the nation. Some post-war activities also generated the records found in this Series. Subjects included are air raid precautions, civil defense, military matters, rationing, immigration / deportation and subversive activities as well as the construction of the Cenotaph and Memorial Hall.

Cecil Purves

Cecil (Cec) John Harry Purves was born in Edmonton in 1933. He successfully ran for City Council in 1966, and was re-elected in 1968 and 1971. In 1974 he unsuccessfully ran against William Hawrelak for Mayor. He ran again in 1977, this time winning the Mayoral election. He served a second term as Mayor after his re-election in 1980. He left politics after losing the Mayoral election to Laurence Decore in 1983.

The series consists of engagements, complaints, speeches, correspondence, records relating to Mayors’ conferences and public hearings, blank letterhead, and daily journals detailing the Mayor’s meetings. It also includes a photo of the Centennial Mall Fountain (EA-353-12), four photos of a marigold glass dish presented to Queen Elizabeth II during her Commonwealth Games visit (EA-353-1 through EA-353-4).

The Vocal Minority Music Society / Edmonton Vocal Minority

The Vocal Minority Music Society (VMS) formed ca. 1983, was, according to member Herbert Tay, the first mixed gay choir in Canada, and the second gay choir to be formed, following the Vancouver Men’s Chorus. The choir’s mandate was to provide a cultural organization to bring together singers, musicians, and interested individuals, both gay and gay-supportive. Their printed goals state they wanted to foster interaction between lesbian women and gay men, as well as between the gay community and the rest of society. The choir met weekly, and new members were on a one-month trial period. The choir was particularly active from 1983 through 1985, taking part in Canadian Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) choruses and performances. However, by 1986 their numbers were dwindling and with interest waning, the Board of Directors for the Vocal Minority Music Society announced its dissolution in May 1987. In 1993, a new LGBQT choir, Edmonton Vocal Minority (EVM), was started by David Hicks who was active at that time with the Gay and Lesbian Community Centre of Edmonton. The name of the newly-reestablished choir was a nod to its predecessor, and EVM continues to perform in several self-produced concerts each year, and actively participates in the Canadian GALA choruses Festivals. The choir remains committed “to playing a vital role in preserving and celebrating the rich culture and history of the Queer community, while at the same time championing equality and embracing the diversity of all people regardless of sexual orientation”. (EVM webpage:

This series consists of records primarily created by The Vocal Minority Music Society, and includes administrative records as well as records around their activities and associations. There is a collection of published music and a file of photographs related to both the VMS and EVM. Included with the papers are EVM programs and GALA Festival information along with one EVM newsletter.

External Organizations

There are a number of organizations whose work relates to the areas overseen by the Commissioners or which the Commissioners maintained membership in as part of doing business for the City. The records in this series relate to such organizations, including but not limited to, the Alberta’s Urban Municipalities Association, the Edmonton Public School Board, the Separate School Board of Edmonton, and the Edmonton Public Library Board.

Laurence Decore

Born in 1940 in Vegreville, Alberta, Laurence Decore was a successful Edmonton lawyer and businessman before winning a position as Alderman in 1974. The following election he ran for Mayor, but was narrowly defeated by Cecil Purves. In 1983 he ran against Cecil Purves again, this time winning the Mayoral election. Laurence Decore resigned as Mayor in 1988 to enter Provincial politics, where he became a Liberal MLA and the Liberal party leader. Decore served as an MLA until 1997, when he chose not to run again. He passed away in 1999.

The series consists of 4 photographs of Mayor Laurence Decore’s visit to Harbin, China in 1985.

  • EA-353-13 – Mayor Laurence Decore’s Visit to Harbin, China (November 28-December 8, 1985);
  • EA-353-14 – Edmonton Boulevard in Harbin, China (November 28-December 8, 1985);
  • EA-353-15 – Edmonton Boulevard in Harbin, China (November 28-December 8, 1985);
  • EA-353-16 – Mayor Laurence Decore Signing Twin Cities Agreement with Harbin, China (November 28-December 8, 1985)
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