3 min read
28 June 2024

When You Find the One - Remembering the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in Ontario

Tureisha Hamlet, Manager of Public Relations and Corporate Communications

For many young Canadians, it’s difficult to imagine a time when gay and lesbian men and women could not marry the ones they loved. Yet, there are couples alive today who were among the very first to legally marry their same-sex partners. Decades later, these trailblazers have come together at WoodGreen to tell their stories.


Produced by Stella Racca, a young queer filmmaker based in East York and Barb McCutcheon, Co-Chair of the WoodGreen Senior Advisory Council, “When You Find the One” is a 40-minute documentary honouring the 20th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ontario.

Stella Racca kneels behind a camera on a tripodThe film, which was produced with grant funding from the Ontario government, is an inter-generational project that captures the stories of 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors who were among the first to marry in the province. Providing a rarely seen depiction of queer love among older adults, it records their legacies for current and future generations.

Watch the documentary on YouTube now

Trailblazers for love and equality

“When You Find the One” gives viewers a look back in time through the stories of men and women whose bravery has helped paved the way for equal rights in Ontario.

Among the film’s participants are Anne and Elaine Vautour, one of the first lesbian couples in the world to have their marriage legally recognized. Although married in 2001, Anne and Elaine’s marriage was not formally registered until June 2003 when the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling to legally allow same-sex marriages.

“When You Find the One” serves as a time capsule of this important moment in Canadian history and a reminder of the progress that has been made in the ongoing fight for equal rights for all.

Sharing love and community

In total, 17 seniors participated in the documentary. Many are active members of WoodGreen’s Rainbow Club, a social club that is open to people 55+ who identify as part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, friends and allies.

From left to right: Adriano Murarotto, WoodGreen’s Director of Senior Services; Barb McCutcheon, co-chair of WoodGreen’s Senior Advisory Council; Peter Tabuns, MPP for Toronto-Danforth; Stella Racca, filmmaker; and Ara Manrikyan, WoodGreen's Manager of Seniors Active Living CentresIn addition to providing a safe and inclusive space for the community, the club supports healthy aging in place for participants, providing a supportive network where their identities and histories are celebrated.

Interested in the Rainbow Club? Contact the Seniors Active Living Centre for more information.

In celebration of Pride, the group is working hard to promote “When You Find the One” to the wider community to ensure its message is heard far and wide: Love is love.

Watch Now: When You Find the One

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