[Photo description: fan of pink masks on a blue background. Credit: Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash]

By: Raegan Swanson, Jessica Taylor

The ArQuives closed our doors to the public on March 14, 2020 and staff started working from home as of March 16. We have been updating and creating policy and procedures, writing grants, and working to postpone or cancel spring events. Our weekly meetings via Zoom help keep us informed about each other’s activities and offer support during this time of isolation.

The ArQuives building will remain closed to all staff and volunteers based on government and health officers’ recommendations. Our employees will return to the office only when non-essential workers are able to go back to work. At this point, there will be staggered days for staff to go into the building to ensure their abilities to socially distance. As archival collection processing cannot be done offsite, archivists will be the first to return to the building, followed by administrative and programming staff. Only once all Ontario businesses are allowed to reopen will we begin to welcome volunteers back in the building, and on a limited basis to ensure the safety of our supporters. We will have more information on these steps when Toronto Public Health and Public Health Ontario have set the dates for the phased re-opening of the province.

At this time, while we are closed, only collections that are in danger of being destroyed will be accepted as donations. Material donations will be accepted as normal when we reopen to the public. Staff are monitoring phone, email, and mail and will answer questions from the public should there be any queries.

We know this global pandemic has been affecting our LGBTQ2+ communities here in Canada and around the world. Our stories are essential to understanding the impact and meaning of this crisis. Like many non-profit and cultural organizations across the country, our fundraising efforts for the year have been hampered by COVID-19, as our March 2020 Gala was cancelled. Ticket holders were given the opportunity to donate the cost of their ticket and many did. Monetary donations are being accepted as normal during this period and all tax receipts for 2019 monetary donations were mailed to our supporters before the doors were closed. We are forgoing our usual direct mail letter this spring and opting for a digital fundraising campaign. Please watch our website and social media for more information on how you can help us continue to Keep our Stories Alive.

We hope you are all able to stay as a safe as possible and look forward to engaging with all of our volunteers and supporters online now and in-person as soon we can.

If you have any questions, please contact our Executive Director, Raegan Swanson exeutivedirector@arquives.ca