So you’ve heard it’s been years since the last time the Leather Ball was held in Toronto. And there hasn’t been Leather Pride Week in Toronto for a while. And maybe there’s more shorts and sneakers on the patio at the Black Eagle these days than chaps and boots. Yeah, the Toronto branch of Montreal’s renowned leather shop Priape is long closed. You’ll still have no problem having a twisted good time in Toronto. So let go of the past and live for today. Today’s Toronto has plenty to offer the traveling pervert.
No one is going to turn you away at the Black Eagle for getting geared up. You’ll probably be very popular for it actually. Especially in the darkroom downstairs. And anyway, the Black Eagle still hosts plenty of gear nights. Try to have your visit coincide with their men-only Sin party, where anything goes. Other theme nights at the Black Eagle are Daddy Next Door, Balls Deep Disco, Jockstrap, Chunk, and more.
The Black Eagle is in the Church and Wellesley neighborhood, Toronto’s historic Gay Village. Like many gayborhoods around the world, Church and Wellesley is not the insular enclave it what was. But you can still find fun there beyond the Black Eagle’s front steps. Serious body-on-body action is just one block up Church at Steamworks, the local outpost of the North American bathhouse chain. For something with more of a European flair, head around the corner to Spa Excess, a bathhouse with a full bar.
What’s that you say? You prefer hunting for dick in the great outdoors? Toronto has just the place for you, where you can leave the mainland and your clothes behind. Well, keep your clothes on till you get to Hanlan’s Point Beach, a nude beach in the Toronto Islands. Cruising has been going on for so long at Hanlan’s Point, it’s possible that your great-grandfather, the one with the sexy mustache, swallowed plenty loads there in his day. Cherry Beach in the Port Lands is another spot to meet up with other horny guys. Unlike Hanlan’s Point, it’s not a nude beach, but also unlike Hanlan’s Point, you don’t need to catch a ferry to get there. And just like Hanlan’s Point, and just about any other cruising beach in the world, head to the bushes to find what you’re looking for.
When you’re ready to go from speedo or nothing at all to full cow, look no further than Northbound Leather in Downtown Toronto. Northbound has been one of the world’s premier fetish shops for decades. They exceed at meeting your pervy needs. For macho fare right around the corner in the Gay Village, check out The Men’s Room. They even have an onsite barber to complete your butch look. Just north of Downtown you’ll find Nick’s Custom Boots & Shoe Repair where you can get outstanding repair work done on your boots or get yourself a brand-new custom pair. If you want to get the most authentic Muir cap possible, the only place to go is Muir Cap & Regalia Ltd. (I’m told it’s a very conservative-minded shop, so it’s your call on whether to drop in.) For rubber boots, hi-viz, and other Masc 4 Masc wear, go to one of the many work wearhouses by Mark’s around the Toronto area.
With the big leather events gone, the Toronto leather scene has gone somewhat underground. The keepers of the flame are Ryan Lock and Alan Anderson, the men behind Leather Lives Social. These guys throw monthly fetish socials at bars around Toronto. They’re a bit discretionary though. Their Facebook group is hidden. So if you want to meet up with these guys while you’re in town, and you do, track down Ryan or Alan online, or ask around in all the right places in Toronto and sniff them out. For a group with a more public face, check out Spearhead, a leather/denim club that’s been going strong since 1970.
Make sure you get some culture while you’re in Toronto. Right on Church Street is Glad Day Bookshop, the world’s oldest gay bookstore. There’s a bar, a restaurant, and a coffee shop right on site, so you can relax with your new reading material. If you’re lucky, the monthly Northern Bear Bash at Glad Day will be happening when you’re around. Just up the street, behind the 519 community center is Toronto’s AIDS Memorial, where the lives of those lost to AIDS are celebrated. Once a year, new names are engraved onto the memorial.
When the time finally comes to crash and you want to be close to the Church and Wellesley scene, the big Courtyard Toronto Downtown, just a block from Church Street makes it nice and easy. Sweet, sticky dreams!
For more information or where to find fetish fun in New York and around the world, check out my website Leathermen Travel at www.leathermentravel.com.
Black Eagle Toronto blackeagletoronto.com
Steamworks Baths steamworksbaths.com/toronto/
Hanlan’s Point Beach www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/complex/2541/index.html
Northbound Leather northbound.com/
The Men’s Room www.shopthemensroom.com/pages/toronto-mens-room
Nick’s Custom Boots nickscustomboots.com/
Muir Cap & Regalia Ltd muircap.com/
Glad Day Bookshop www.gladdaybookshop.com/
Northern Bear Bash www.facebook.com/NRTHNBEARBASH
AIDS Memorial www.the519.org/programs/aids-memorial-and-vigilCourtyard Toronto Downtown www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/yyzcy-courtyard-toronto-downtown/