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The Origins of SPECTRUM

January 17, 2012: The Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition (WRRC) sponsored a community meeting in the Crystal Ballroom of the Walper Hotel from 7pm – 10pm. The meeting was entitled From Conversation to Action: Building Community Connections. The purpose of the meeting was to review progress that WRRC had made over the previous year, and then discuss dreams that participants had for our community.

After a small-groups exercise, the results of each group discussion was presented. The top three priorities that emerged were:

  • Physical Community Centre
  • Advocacy on behalf of Rainbow Youth within the school system
  • Opportunities for Networking

February 27, 2012: WRRC sponsored another community meeting. This one was held at the Faculty of Social Work in downtown Kitchener behind City Hall, from 6:30-8:30pm. This event was advertised on Facebook as Take Action! Towards an LGBTQ Community Centre in Waterloo Region. Part of the event announcement read as follows. “Our goal this evening is to hear from community stakeholders about how we can move forward on establishing an LGBTQ community centre here in Waterloo Region. Hopefully, by the end of this meeting, we’ll have a group of informed citizens committed to making it happen!”

April 17, 2012: WRRC sponsored a community meeting to create a plan of action to start a local LGBTQ community centre. This one was also held at the Faculty of Social Work in downtown Kitchener behind City Hall, from 6:30-8:30pm.

A Steering Committee was set up to guide the process of establishing a community centre; it consisted of some WRRC Board members and some other people present at the meeting. They discussed the possibility of applying for space in the renovated LCBO building at 42 Erb St E, Waterloo that was under the management of Creative Enterprise Initiative (CEI).

SPECTRUM's physical space

May 4, 2012: The Steering Committee’s application for space in 42 Erb St E, Waterloo was approved by CEI. The Steering Committee began meeting regularly in preparation for moving in to the space.

July 28, 2012: Moving-In Day!

August 7, 2012: We opened our doors and began offering limited service. Over the next several weeks we grew accustomed to our new space and developed plans for regular operation.

September 30, 2012: Our Grand Opening.

February 12, 2013: At this evening’s meeting of the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition (WRRC), a vote was taken in favour of spinning the Community Space off as an autonomous body. Volunteers for the Community Space re-branded it as SPECTRUM – Waterloo Region’s Rainbow Community Space.

August 13, 2013: 
We received our Letters Patent of Incorporation as a not-for-profit Ontario corporation.

May 15, 2015:
 Program space at the CEI building began to be limited and in early 2015 we searched for a new home. On May 15, 2015 we moved into Unit 210 at 283 Duke St W, Kitchener and over the summer began transferring most of our programming to the new location.

Capacity-expanding efforts

May 13, 2016: We received our Supplementary Letters Patent from the Government of Ontario as a not-for-profit corporation with charitable status. The revision represented the first step in working toward charitable status.

December 21, 2017:
 We were granted charitable status by the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, backdated to August 1, 2017.

March 31, 2021: 
On this date, Minister Bardish Chagger announced that SPECTRUM was one of many organizations receiving grants from the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund. In fact, we began hiring for the three positions covered by this grant at the end of 2020 and by this date our new staff team had already completed three months of work on the year-long capacity-building project we dubbed “Project Excelsior”.

SPECTRUM’s Grand River Rainbow Historical Project preserves the history of LGBTQ2+ people in our community from 1970 onwards.

SPECTRUM offers a safe place where 2SLGBTQ+ individuals can be themselves and find community and supports.