If you’re stumped for birthday party ideas this winter, there are dozens of novelty nights and activities in Toronto you could drag your friends to, like cocktail school or karaoke. But really, if you wanted to make your own drinks you could always just stay at home,not to mention the fact that your friends might not be too keen on sharing their own renditions of “Hello.” Fortunately, there are a growing number of adult party ideas in Ontario that promise to be a good time for everyone. Among them, axe throwing has been picking up steam across Ontario, with leagues and event venues popping up everywhere.
The axe has a long history as one of Homo sapiens’ earliest tools, developing into weapons and ceremonial objects. The Labrys is a double-headed version of the tool that took on symbolic importance in Minoan Crete, and they were used to perform sacrifices. It even lent its name to the famous labyrinth of the Minotaur. Today, it’s more commonly associated with lumberjacks, but since the chainsaw became the equipment of choice in the forestry industry, the hatchet has largely become something used in games and competitions.
You may think that an axe is a pretty simple device: there’s a head and a shaft, but there are over a dozen parts and subparts to the kind of hatchet used for the game. The edge of the head is divided into the toe at the top, the face in the middle, and the heel at the bottom, while the top is called the eye, the side the cheek, and the end the butt. The shaft is no simpler, either, and from shoulder to knob, you could carve it up into a diagram like the parts of a hog. If you’re just using them for target practice, though, the only thing you really need to know is this: aim with the sharp end forward.
You don’t need to know anything more than that when you show up at a league or a venue for your birthday party, as private events always begin with a training session. At Toronto’s Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL), they keep one staff member for every two participants in order to provide thorough lessons and safety. Founder Matt Wilson insists that it’s safe, having had tens of thousands of people play in their ten-year history without any serious injuries.In its early days, the league had some trouble finding insurance, but its proven safety record has gone a long way in helping. Axe throwing is truly an opportunity to do something you know you shouldn’t be allowed to do.
With several venues in Toronto, the sport is played all indoors and in all seasons. They also have facilities in Pickering, Ottawa, Kitchener, London, and, for those out west, in Calgary, Alberta. For more adult birthday ideas, check out BATLgrounds.com/adult-birthday-party-ideas/. You’re allowed to bring your own food, too, but it might be a good idea to ask before you chop your cake in half.