The Toronto Archery Range
Located at E. T. Seton park near Gateway Boulevard and Don Mills Road.
The archery range is open 24 / 7, 365 days per year. There is no charge for using the range and all that is asked is that people obey the Ontario laws governing archery, the rules of the range, and the social etiquette of archers.
There is only a handful of "free public archery ranges" in all of North America and Toronto is very fortunate to have one.
There is no parking at the archery range itself. The closest parking is further south in E. T. Seton Park, known as the Overlea Parking Lot (although the entrance is on Thorncliffe Park Drive, it is still called the Overlea Parking Lot) and it is roughly a 10 minute walk from the range. Note - The Overlea Parking Lot is closed during the Winter due to lack of winter maintenance on the steep hill leading into the park off Thorncliffe Park Drive.
The Eglinton Parking Lot is another parking lot in the north west of the park, just off Eglinton, and is a 15 minute walk from the archery range. Finding the entrance to the Eglinton Parking Lot is also tricky, you have to go to Serena Gundy Park first (near Sunnybrook Park/Stables), head north, turn left, go south beneath Eglinton Avenue and then you are there.
You can also park near the Shoppers Drug Mart / Tim Hortons for free, although it is recommended you purchase something and get a receipt that shows you are a customer. Even if you do not make a purchase they rarely tow or ticket vehicles there unless there is a big event happening at the Ontario Science Centre. Parking at the back of the Ontario Science Centre is not recommended as parking tickets will be issued for illegally parking there, and your car could be towed.
Note: If you have an Ontario Science Centre membership you can park in their parking lots as much as you want for free. Not at the back however. That is for OSC employees only.
The land for the "Toronto Public Archery Range" or "E. T. Seton Archery Range" was donated to the city after the death of author Ernest Thompson Seton (August 14, 1860 – October 23, 1946). In his will he donated the land for the park to the city and dictated that they must maintain an archery range or else the land reverts to his estate (and would go to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren).
Ernest Thompson Seton was involved in the foundation of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and was involved in a variety of other programs promoting woodsman skills for youths including "Woodcraft Indians" (a youth group similar to boy scouts), the YMCA, and similar groups.
E. T. Seton's writing glorified and mythologized Native American culture and hunting practices, often in a sentimental nature aimed at young readers. It is no doubt his donation of the land was intended to promote a love of archery and Native culture / hunting practices.
That love of archery is alive and well at the Toronto Archery Range.
If you have questions about the Toronto Archery Range please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions first.
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Archery Range Rules
For a complete list of the rules please visit the Toronto Archery Range Rules.
A number of complaints have been made that some people are ignoring Rule #2 (Arrows must be shot from designated shooting line only.) and standing 20 or more yards from the 90 yard target and using it close range, not firing from the designated shooting line. This puts people in danger of being hit by an arrow (or ricocheting arrow) from anyone firing at the 70 yard targets.
Always stand on the firing line when shooting. Observe ALL of the archery rules. Ignoring the range rules upsets your fellow archers and is reckless endangerment, which carries a $400 fine plus possible prison time.
The Target Butts
The target butts at the Toronto Archery Range are made from Natural Tentest, a wood pulp material that Toronto Parks and Recreation gets from the Mar-lyn Lumber company in Ajax.
Each piece of Natural Tentest is purchased at the following size and price: 7/16x4x8 for $9.95/sheet. The sheets are then cut into pieces 4 feet long and 1 foot wide, thus a single sheet makes 8 smaller pieces. These pieces are then stacked 4 feet high on the target butt and boards are screwed into place to hold the pieces of Natural Tentest in place. It takes 110 smaller pieces (13.75 larger pieces) in order to make each target butt. Thus it costs about $140 for the Natural Tentest for each target butt.
Natural Tentest lasts for a good amount of time under normal circumstances. Depending on the amount of damage the targets sustain, the higher poundages of bows, the illegal use of prohibited crossbows, then the targets start to fall apart over time as the Natural Tentest gets pulverized by getting shot thousands of times with arrows. Often it is the middle of targets that fall apart first.
In order to make the targets last longer it is recommended that experienced archers aim closer to the corners instead, and let new archers focus on the center of the target. This way the targets will last a lot longer.
Another way to make target butts last longer is to take pieces of Natural Tentest from target butts that have collapsed and stuff the holes of damaged target butts with the smaller pieces - as shown in the photo above. This will allow you to be able to shoot low poundage bows at the target butts and the Natural Tentest will stop your arrows from going all the way through. Higher poundage bows however will often go right through the repaired target butt - and may only be marginally slowed down by the friction of the softened Natural Tentest.
If that happens then it is recommended that you bring your own target butts with you to the archery range. There are a variety of ways to make your own target butt. Cardboard boxes filled with newspapers or old denim, styrofoam targets, foam targets, or even burlap sacks filled with dirt. [Please clean up any mess after using your target butt. Keep the range clean!]
What are the distances?
Officially the distances are 20 yards, 30 yards, 50 yards, 60 yards, and 70 yards. [1 yard is 3 feet or 0.9144 meters.]
Prior to 2015 there used to be targets at the 90 yard distance, but in March 2015 they were relocated to 70 yards because people didn't really use them at the full 90 yard distance.
Unofficially the shooting line has moved over the years since the range was opened in 1968. The shooting line for the 20 yard section is reportedly "20.5 yards or 18.1 meters" if you measure the distance with a tape measure, and the 30 yard range is reportedly "33 yards or 30.2 meters". (People have tried measuring with laser range finders, but humidity messes with the accuracy of range finders. Also range finders often round up or down to nearest meter.)
Shoot straight and shoot safe!
For more information on local events at the range please
check the Facebook page for the Toronto Public Archery Range or join The Toronto Archery Club.