The neighbourhood was once the estate of Alexander Wood in 1810. His lands were derisively known as "Molly Wood's Bush" — "molly" being a contemporaneous slang term for "homosexual" in the 1800s. There is a statue of Wood on the corner of Church and Alexander (also named for him).
From the late 1960s through the early 1980s the focus of Toronto's gay subculture was the Yonge and Wellesley area. Church and Wellesley is home to the annual Pride Week celebrations, the largest event of its kind in Canada with over 90 floats and an enthusiastic crowd that numbers in the hundreds of thousands.