Gay Grey Apartment Building

pic1977. Photo by Stephen Archibald At approximately 5234 Morris Street, near Barrington, a house 2 doors from Don Schelew's Dry Cleaners and across the street from The NS Tech College residence, owned by Abe & Elaine Leventhal, who were also owners of the WaverleyInn. The building was the home of numerous queer personalities in the 1970s.

Photo: 1977. 1

JimDeYoung writes:

The house took on its "gay" element starting in 1976 when Chris Shepherd and Henry Bundy moved into the two bedroom apartment on the ground floor.

Circa 1979-1980 Jim DeYoung moved in across the hall into a one bedroom apartment. Within the next year, the two upstairs bachelor apartments were taken over by PatrickMurphy? and BarryHeath, lovers, in one unit and RandyKennedy across the hall in the other unit, which at different times was also occupied by GerryGrey and GeorgeRamsey.

With these tenants, the house soon became one of the city's most popular places to hang out and visit friends or show up for one of Chris Shepherd's parties.

ShawnMcGowan? says, "Shawn McGowan? Elaine and Abe were my Jewish mother and father! I loved them so much! They were the most generous humans anyone could have the the privilege to know!5

The last unit in the building, a 5 bedroom, was held by BobSwitzer, who wasn't a member of the gay community but a great guy and a musicologist with a knowledge that exceeded even Shepherd's. RegGiles says, "I remember a bunch of us helping Bob Switzer move out .. his record collection broke a few backs"6

Over the years the house saw many parties and good times but most of all the unending coffee klatches that occurred in all of the apartments in the building.

RandyKennedy writes: In 1980 or 1981, for Good Friday we all decided to have a mega party, because of course bars were closed back then on certain holidays. We expected a good sized crowd, but nothing like what showed up. Chris's apartment was the dance floor because it was the biggest and he had all the music, turn tables, speakers, etc . Jim's apt became the bar where people would give over their liquor to be labelled with their names so it was not a free-for-all, and mine and Barry's apartments were quiet areas for mingling. More people showed up than we ever expected, but our party worked like a well oiled machine with people taking shifts as barman, bus boy and even security. It went on to the wee hours of the morning until it finally died out and became the most famous party to be held outside of a gay bar. Half way through the party even Laverne made an appearance by sliding down the banister with a full bottle, flying off at the bottom and landing on the floor without spilling a drop. It was the best party ever.7 On a footnote, that place was also haunted by a ghost we called Mz Biz . Anyone who lived there had experiences with her .


1. May, 2019: photo retrieved from Photo by Stephen Archibald, published with permission.
2. December, 2020 TurretMemories
4. May 14, 2019 ScottMacNeil in TurretMemories.
5. May 14, 2019 in TurretMemories.
6. May 15, 2019 in TurretMemories
7. May 15, 2019 in TurretMemories