Drop-In Services and Youth Centre Programming

The Friends of Ruby drop-in center is the place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and Two-spirit youth in the GTA (aged 16-29) to find counselling, practical supports and a sense of community.

Important Notice: In February, please note that the Drop-In Center will be closed

for Family Day on Monday, February 19th and reopen on Tuesday, February 20th at 11:00am.

Drop-In Programs

Laundry Time – Monday to Thursday From 11:00AM–4:00PM

Laundry Time is dedicated to 2SLGBTQIA+ youth who require access to a washer and dryer to do your laundry. Our staff are happy to help from 11:00AM to 1:00PM, Monday to Friday! Please note laundry services take approximately 2-2.5 hours per load.

Grocery Day – Monday to Fridays from 11:00–6:30PM

Starting this month, Grocery Day isn’t just a Friday affair—it’s an everyday delight! Participants can now grab one (1) bag of groceries each visit, Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM to 6:30 PM. Your food needs, met any day of the week!

Our groceries are supplementary—while we aim to assist, please note we operate within capacity limits. If you need help accessing local food banks and programs, feel free to reach out via email at drop-in@friendsofruby.ca

Just In Case – Monday to Friday (Weekly) from 2:00–4:00PM

“Just in Case” is an opportunity to meet for up to 30-minutes with a case worker who can offer you guidance on how to connect with community supports and health resources. This includes help with food security and other short-term goals like finding a family doctor or a sexual health clinic or getting drug coverage. 

Book A Time Here

TNG Employment Counselling  – Thursday, Feb. 1st from 1:00–5:00PM

TNG (The Neighborhood Group) and Friends of Ruby are thrilled to host drop-in employment counseling sessions just for you! Every first Thursday of the month, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, our expert employment counselor from TNG will be right here at Friends of Ruby, ready to provide valuable resources and one-on-one guidance tailored to your unique journey. Plus, you can request a referral to TNG from a Friends of Ruby Youth Program Worker anytime you’re ready. Your path to success starts here, and we’re with you every step of the way.

Journaling Workshop – Tuesday, Feb. 7th from 1:00–3:00PM 

Dive into self-reflection and explore emotions in a serene environment. Express ideas through guided prompts at our January Journaling Workshop.

E&E Co-Working Café – Feb. 5th, 12th, 26th from 1:00 – 3:00PM

This space is created for participants to come by and enjoy free tea, coffee and snacks while quietly working on their own personal tasks (homework, employment assistance, etc.). 

The Next E&E Co-working Café Dates:
Monday, December 5th from 1:00 – 3:00PM
Monday, December 12th from 1:00 – 3:00PM
Monday, December 26th from 1:00 – 3:00PM

Monday Movies – Starting Feb. 5th from 3:00–5:00PM

Let’s turn Mondays into movie magic! Heat up some popcorn, dim the lights, and get comfy as we kick back with great films. Suggestions for future Movie Mondays are always welcome! Here’s our upcoming lineup: 

February 5th : Rafiki
Rafiki explores the love story of two young women dealing with familial and political issues in Kenya.

Content Warnings:
Homophobic terms, swearing, moderate violence, teen drinking/alcohol, implied sex (kissing & touching over clothing)

February 12th : The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” is a documentary unraveling the activism and mysterious death of transgender rights pioneer Marsha P. Johnson, probing her role in Stonewall and her lasting impact on LGBTQ+ rights.

Content Warnings:
This documentary delves into issues such as violence, discrimination, and the circumstances surrounding Marsha P. Johnson’s death, which some may find distressing. Also, includes potentially offensive terminology, such as T-slurs, used to either self-describe or depict others.

February 26th: Paris is Burning
Paris Is Burning” (1990) is a landmark documentary offering an intimate glimpse into the vibrant New York City ball culture of the late 1980s, celebrating the creativity and struggles of African American and Latino LGBTQ+ performers in competitions known as ‘balls.

Content Warnings:
The documentary addresses issues such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty, and the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, there are discussions and portrayals of the challenges faced by marginalized communities, including violence and discrimination. Viewers should be aware that the film may contain content that could be triggering or distressing.

Crown Craft: Empowering Black Styles – Feb. 7th, 21st, 28th, from 3:00–5:00PM

Join us for Crown Craft: Empowering Black Styles Braiding Class to Celebrate Black History Month with Friends of Ruby’s exclusive hair styling tutorials throughout February! Each class offers hands-on demonstrations, making them beginner-friendly with no prior experience required. Registration is required. 

Register Here Today.

D&D With The 519 – Every Friday from 3:00–5:00PM

Embark on a legendary journey with Friends of Ruby and @the519! Join us for an epic collaboration at the Friends of Ruby Drop-In Center each Friday from 3:00-5:00 pm, where we’re hosting a short D&D session just for you. Secure your spot by registering on Eventbrite (link bellow) one week prior to each program date. 

Upcoming Dates: 
🗓 February 2nd @ 3pm-5pm 
🗓 February 9th @ 3pm-5pm 
🗓 February 16th @ 3pm-5pm 
🗓 February 23rd @ 3pm-5pm 

Register Here Today.

The Stories We Tell: Discussion – Tuesday, Feb 13th from 1:00–3:00PM 

Exploring the Impact of Narratives: Join us for ‘The Stories We Tell’ discussion on February 13th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. 🌈✨ Dive into the influence of life narratives on our interactions and discover how stories shape our perspectives. This engaging discussion will unravel the power of narrative storytelling in our day-to-day lives, exploring what narratives are, how we tell them, and their impact on our worldviews. Share your stories, hear others’ experiences, and map out the profound influence of storytelling on our perceptions. 

Please note: This is a NON-CLINICAL program, focusing on narrative therapy and storytelling as discussion topics, without direct practice. 

Song & Tell – Tuesday, Feb. 13th from 3:00–5:00PM

Song & Tell: Join us on February 13th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm for a unique listening experience! Has a piece of music ever inspired, comforted, or spoken to you as a 2SLGBTQIA+ person navigating life’s complexities? We’d love to hear about it! This Song & Tell session is a blend of a listening party and grade school show and tell. Share your favorite song (Spotify or YouTube link preferred), and discover new gems from others’ contributions.  

Back Talk – Thursdays, Starting Feb. 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th (Weekly) from 1:30–3:00PM 

Join Canvas Arts and Friends of Ruby as we write and share poetry about consent, identity, and resilience to educate, inspire, and most importantly, Talk Back. This program consists of weekly workshops where participants come together with an experienced spoken word artist and a community social worker to develop their spoken word skills while exploring topics that we don’t often get to talk about.

The Next Dates:
Thursday, Feb. 8th from 1:30 – 3:00PM (Virtual)
Thursday, Feb. 15th from 1:30 – 3:00PM (Virtual)
Thursday, Feb. 22nd from 1:30 – 3:00PM (Virtual)
Thursday, Feb. 29th from 1:30 – 3:00PM (In-Person)

Trans Talk – Thursdays, Feb. 8th from 3:00–5:00PM

Trans & Non-Binary Group – Join us for a safe and supportive space designed exclusively for trans, non-binary, genderqueer, and questioning individuals. Here, you can freely express yourself without the pressure of explaining your unique experiences and identities. Our program is all about empowerment, advocacy, and building connections through meaningful discussions and activities. Come as you are, and let’s uplift each other.

Mingling Hearts Social  -Wednesday, Feb. 14th from 1:00–5:00PM 

“Mingling Hearts Social: Skip the traditional Valentine’s Day routine and join us for an inclusive alternative on February 14th from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm! Looking for a welcoming space to hang out amongst friends? Look no further! Join us for snacks, cookie decoration, and speed friending at our Mingling Hearts Social event. Let’s celebrate connection, creativity, and friendship!

Activity: Cookie Decoration (Sugar cookies)

Button-Making WorkshopTuesday, Feb. 20th from 1:00 – 3:00PM

Join us for a hands-on button-making experience, where we’ll craft unique designs and press them into personalized pins. Whether you’re in need of a pronoun pin, a funky design, or want to immortalize a cute cat pic you saw online, the possibilities are endless when you’re pressing them onto a button. Supplies are provided but limited, so don’t miss out on this creative adventure!

Close-Knit Communities Friday, Feb. 9th, 16th and 23rd from 1:00 – 3:00PM

Calling all knitters and crocheters! Join us for a heartwarming project. We’re creating squares to craft cozy blankets for all to enjoy in our Drop-In space. You can use one of our square patterns, choose your own, or let your creativity run wild! We’ve got you covered with yarn, needles, hooks, snacks, and all the cozy vibes you could wish for. Let’s stitch love into every square!

The Next Close-Knit Communities Dates:
Friday, Feb. 9th from 1:00 – 3:00PM
Friday, Feb. 16th from 1:00 – 3:00PM
Wednesday, Feb. 23rd from 1:00 – 3:00PM

Self-Soothing: Kit-Making and Discussion  – Tuesday, Feb. 20th from 3:00–5:00PM

Nurturing Your Well-being: Join us on February 20th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm for a unique Self-Soothing Workshop! In a world that can be turbulent, having an array of self-soothing skills and tools ready is a kind gift to your future self. Together, we’ll brainstorm somatic, sensory, and emotional self-soothing strategies. Using these strategies, we’ll craft our own self-soothing treasure chests to keep and use during challenging times. Supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your tried-and-true self-soothing items to include in your kit. Let’s embark on a journey of self-care and resilience! 

BHM: Reclaiming Blackness in a Colonial State – Feb. 21st & 13th from 1:00–3:00PM

oin us on February 21st and February 28th, both from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, as Friends of Ruby presents a special workshop and discussion in honor of Black History Month “Reclaiming Blackness in a Colonial State”. This engaging session will focus on the vital intersection of mental health, anti-oppression, power & privilege, and anti-black racism. 

🌟 Key Highlights: 

  • Enhance your understanding of meaningful mental health approaches for Black-identifying individuals and allies. 
  • Explore an anti-oppressive framework, delving into the historical context of social and political change within a colonial state. 
  • Strive towards building a more inclusive and equitable environment to eradicate anti-black racism and white supremacy. 

🔍 Workshop Agenda: 

  • Recognize the significance of Black History Month in Canada. 
  • Delve into social and political movements for the Black community. 
  • Discuss how mental health tools can be tailored to enhance effective coping skills within this intersection. 
  • Emphasize the importance of practicing self-care and collective care in culturally sensitive ways. 

Chosen Family Day Dinner  – Thursday, Feb. 22nd from 3:00–5:00PM 

Join us for a heartwarming Chosen Family Day Community Dinner on Feb 22nd, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm! This special event, part of our Raise Your Voice Series: Amplifying Black Voices, features an esteemed guest speaker. 

“Planting” Borders: An Introductory Workshop to Setting Boundaries  – Tuesday, Feb. 27th from 1:00–3:00PM

Nurturing Boundaries: Join us for ‘Planting Borders,’ an Introductory Workshop to Setting Boundaries on February 27th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Immerse yourself in a hands-on, tactile experience through paper crafting, where participants will explore the visual manifestation and understanding of boundaries—be they physical, social, or within various relationship types. 

Harm Reduction 101: Co-Exploring “Harm” Tuesday, Feb. 27th from 3:00–5:00PM 

Harm Reduction 101: Co-Exploring ‘Harm’ is our co-exploratory workshop on February 27th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Join us in understanding the personalized approach of harm reduction, extending beyond condoms and needle exchanges. Facilitated by a Friends of Ruby staff member with lived experience of diverse harm reduction approaches, this workshop critically examines what ‘harm’ means in the context of harm reduction. All are welcome—just bring yourself and an open mind! Let’s navigate the complexities of harm reduction together.

White Supremacy in the Mental Health Sector Thursday, Feb. 29th from 3:00–5:00PM 

TBD

At our drop-in centre at 489 Queen St. East in downtown Toronto we have

  • food icon
    Meals, snacks, light groceries (delivered twice weekly)
  • computer icon
    Computer lab with WiFi
  • printer icon
    Printer and fax machine
  • phone icon
    Phone services
  • harm reduction kit
    Harm reduction kits
  • hygiene icon
    Personal hygiene kits
  • tv icon
    TV with content streaming
  • ttc token icon
    TTC tokens
  • couch icon
    Lounging area
  • building icon
    Community resources
  • book icon
    Book library
  • LGBTQI2S icon
    Programming that puts LGBTQI2S-youth first

Other Main Services

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Mental Health & Wellness Support

Our counsellors’ approach is integrative, trauma-informed, anti-oppressive and collaborative by design. Wherever youth are on their personal journey, we’re here for them.

two people discussing

Case Management & Practical Supports

Need support finding a job or inclusive housing? Having trouble navigating the healthcare system? Our case managers can help with that.

friends of ruby housing

Transitional Housing

Along with the Friends of Ruby Home, one of the few transitional homes dedicated to LGBTQI2S youth, at our Youth Centre we always offer help finding inclusive shelter space and housing.