Toronto may have a reputation for being the city that rest of Canada “loves to hate,” but there’s a reason why she’s listed in my Sexiest Cities list.
The country’s largest and most ever-expanding city, Toronto is fast paced, ambitious and business minded. As an American who frequently visits, I can’t help but notice how clean and calm the it is compared to many U.S. cities. The Canadian stereotype of politeness is no myth, and the locals seem almost shy or standoffish compared to bluntly direct New Yorkers or excessively personal Californians. After they get to know you, though, Torontonians are extremely friendly and love to kid around.
Once known as Canada’s prudish elder aunt, Toronto sulked under severely restrictive liquor laws and moral legislation. For example, the only way you could buy booze for home was from a government run shop that required more information than most Americans provide when buying a gun prior to purchase. Things have loosened up in recent years, and Toronto is more relaxed than many American cities, particularly about sex. Toronto may not be as sensual and debauched as Montreal, but they sure know how to organize great parties and there are plenty of places to visit for kinky fun.
North Bound Leather
North Bound Leather is to leather fashion what Mr. S Leather is to hardcore kink equipment. The quality of workmanship and leather is superb. Marty, the head of design, has the keenest eye for style and fantasy, and the clothes are made on premises instead of outsourced to third-world countries. North Bound can customize existing designs, or make amazing one-offs. (They made a leather shirt, based on their standard design, for my shorter arms and added French cuffs in a style of my pleasing.)
Come As You Are
Come As You Are is a multi-award-winning shop carrying goods and sponsoring events for the passionate lover in all of us. It’s a cheerful store full of the best quality sex toys, erotic books, sexy videos and works by local artists on the wall. On weekends, they’re just packed with erotic connoisseurs and giddy couples of all ages and genders.
Red Tent Sisters
For those interested in fertility and all aspects of women’s wellness, including sexuality, don’t miss Red Tent Sisters. I bought a cool inflatable birthing tub from Amy and Kim, the proprietors. I’m not having a baby, silly! It doubles as the best mini back yard pool or beer cooler, ever!
Clubs & Events
The Leather Ball
Every fall, North Bound throws a huge party called the Leather Ball. It’s a see-and-be-seen, 2,000 to 3,000 guest event for people of every gender and persuasion. Folks show up from all over North America, decked out. The DJ spins totally danceable music on the huge main dance floor. There’s a dedicated play area, as well as a couple’s-only grouping lounge. The fashion show is sexy, kinky and slick. The runway show is usually choreographed by Marty, showing his couture fashion roots and performed by phenomenal models. Interspersed among the professional cat-walkers are the freak show performers getting naughty before your very eyes. Thankfully, the decency and exposure laws are different up there.
North Bound Leather also hosts various monthly naughty events. Some of you might remember the Betty Page Social Club from the ’90s. These current parties are what the BPSC morphed into. It’s more intimate than the Leather Ball, but quite dirty in action.
Goodhandy’s Pansexual Playground
Goodhandy’s is a space that caters to transsexual and transgender individuals, but always has something splendidly seedy going on for every kink.
Subspace Fetish Nights
Subspace Fetish Nights are held in the classic grungy, Gothy fetish nightclub setting for those of us who like things rough around the edges from time to time.
A new multipurpose community space called Renegades opened recently, with a lot of promise of erotic events and activities. I’ve yet to visit, but the grapevine is buzzing with juicy, positive reports.
The Black Eagle Leather/Levi Bar
Gay men, don’t miss the Sunday BBQ and the kink happenings at the Black Eagle Leather/Levi Bar on Church Street! It’s a fine place to congregate and cruise. Although it’s a leather/Levi's venue, it’s no problem to show up in your summer casuals for the Sunday BBQ.
Mr. Leatherman Toronto
Mr. Leatherman Toronto is the big annual leathermen cruise fest and flesh display. It’s a ‘feeder event’ to the International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago, so you know the men are all hot, revved and dressed up for the occasion. Get thee to a gym several weeks prior to MLT and pick up some hot thread for this special night.
The Pleasure Palace
Don’t miss the steamy sex parties thrown by the Pleasure Palace crew for women and trans folk. They take over a gay men’s multi-story bathhouse for the night and behind closed doors, the staffers and volunteers create a sexual paradise only imagined in lesbo smut stories! Forget the kissing booth, try the fisting room—she’s smiling and waiting for the next pleasure seeker! I can personally attest to its delightful wickedness, having “researched” this event in person.
Toronto Pride Festival
The Toronto Pride Festival is the largest Pride party in North America, bringing in hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. I found a far more diverse crowd than many of the American Pride events I’ve attended. Queers from different countries find it much easier to get into Canada hassle-free. This isn’t surprising, as Toronto is possibly the most diverse city in North America. While Pride itself is not a sex or kink event, as with any Pride, there’s going to be spin-off parties all over town. Keep an eye on the flyers and posters in the Church Street gayborhood!
Now you have your list of kinky shops, clubs and events. Go book your flight! If you go to Toronto and don’t have fun, it’s your own fault.