Column #27 Toronto, Canada

December 1, 1996
Column 27
Toronto, Canada

Facing a couple days of business in Toronto recently, I posted a message to the Internet’s “alt.sport.darts” newsgroup inquiring where the best darts bars were in the city. In due course, I received a message back from someone named Scott Breard from the University of Guelph, along with a list of places he rates highly, having spent nearly ten years in the thick of the darts scene in this most populous of Canada’s metropolitan areas.

So I flew to Toronto, hopped a taxi at the airport and went to each and every one of them: the Fox and Fiddle (Winston Churchill Blvd & Dundas St.); the Elephant and Castle (at the Eaton Center megamall); Norma Jean’s (Dixie and 401); and Web’s (Dundas & Glen Erin). What I found was quite remarkable. Every single one of the joints was closed!

Actually, considering this all occured on a Sunday afternoon, it was entirely unremarkable. Disappointing to be sure — for me, not the taxi driver.

But this guy Breard, fortunately, gave me one additional piece of advice. He said that if I had any difficulties to contact the Double Top Darts Store in Brampton (905-452-8000), which I did. And which led to a great little place, just five minutes from the airport, called the Skyway Grill (180 Atwell Drive). If I’d had the sense to make this call first I’d have saved two hours and a bundle of “loonies”. Imagine that — the rough and tumble hockey playing Canadians have actually named their dollar coin after a funny little bird. Weird, eh?

So I got a tour of what Forbes Magazine hails as “one of the ten most livable cities in the world.” Number seven to be precise, but aiming for number one. The CN Tower (the largest freestanding structure in the world) dominates the skyline. We passed the Blue Jays’ Skydome with its amazing retractable roof, and Maple Leaf Gardens. I learned that Canada now even has a professional basketball team — the Raptors, apparently named after a dinosaur in a Michael Crichton book.

The Skyway was a pleasant surprise. There’s a restaurant to the right as you walk in. There’s a kind of horseshoe bar to the far left, down a couple of steps. Three televisions. A pool table. There’s a bizzare orange wallsized poster of the planet Saturn on one of the walls. Above the bar, just behind the throwing area is a poster of Eric Bristow. And another of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.

Two Nodor boards in cabinets are sort of sandwiched in the middle of the traffic line between the restaurant and the pool table. But there’s ample room to throw as long as there’s no one in the place — and there isn’t on a Sunday afternoon. The lighting is good, and adjustable. Carpeting has been laid with some care to catch the occasional bounceout.

It turns out the Skyway fields two teams which compete in the Regional Peel Dart League on Tuesday nights. Once upon a time, some years back when the place was called “Mondays”, several teams threw from here — I’m told some of the best in Ontario.

But on Sunday the place is dead. So I practiced alone for an hour or so, in between pints — many, many pints — of something called Waterloo Dark. Good stuff. And for just a couple loonies a pint and with absolutely nothing to do until morning, it went down fast. Too fast!

I left the Skyway well after dark. The return to my hotel by the airport was brief. Cost me just five raptors. I ordered another Waterloo Dark at the hotel bar and watched the Loonies play the Mounties at Jurassic Park.

Then I went to bed and dreamed about throwing darts in space with swimsuit models.

From the Field,

Dartoid

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Dartoid
Author of the column that since 1995 has been featured by Bull’s Eye News, the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Double Eagle and numerous other darts publications and websites around the globe.

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