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Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL Grounds)

Posted by Staff / Posted on January 14, 2014

Backyard Axe Throwing League TorontoThe Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL Grounds) has come a long way from the backyard. So far, in fact, that its new 7,000-plus-square-foot second location is an industrial-sized space nestled between film warehouses and production studios in a complex off Cherry Street south of Lake Shore Boulevard.

Backyard Axe Throwing LeagueThe popular axe hurling league opened 'BATL Grounds' at 33 Villiers Street in December 2013 and now operates two locations, effectively putting an end to the league's current waiting list. BATL Grounds has four sets of four lanes, a vast expansion from the single set at its still-open 1,400-square-foot location on Sterling Road.

Backyard Axe Throwing LeagueUpon entering, participants quickly get used to the smell of sawed wood and freshly-sharpened steel and the cacophonous sound of axes chopping or bouncing off targets, and the echoes doing the same off the high ceilings. Founder Matt Wilson didn't do a hatchet job on the construction, either. Solid, straight lines divide the space into distinct throwing areas.

Backyard Axe Throwing LeagueMany BATL staff members are league veterans, and most look like warriors from a J.R.R. Tolkien novel - adding to the sense of toughness you might expect in an axe throwing environment. But beneath the hard-bitten veneer is an organically grown, word-of-mouth community that fosters a family atmosphere at BATL Grounds.

Backyard Axe Throwing League"We're doing league expansion right now in a big way," said Wilson, who started BATL in a backyard off Manning Street in Little Italy. "We could have as many as 120 people throwing every night."

All 120-plus current league members who throw at Sterling Road all know each other, and Wilson hopes that will remain the case as the axe-wielding family grows.

Backyard Axe Throwing LeagueFor those twiddling their axes on the sidelines while the growing waiting list kept many out of the popular sport, the chance has come to get in on league play. BATL Grounds can also help with event requests at the Sterling Road location, which books 12 weeks in advance for Saturday private parties.

Backyard Axe Throwing LeagueBATL Grounds is used for both league play and private events. Events include coaching and practice followed by a round-robin tournament and a playoff final. The cost for events is $40 per person with a 12-person minimum. A standard event at BATL lasts for about three hours.

Backyard Axe Throwing League"With this place now our plan is to have three arenas operating for events and league and one arena of four lanes free for league members to come do drop in and practice, which is something we could never do at the other space," Wilson tell me.

Backyard Axe Throwing LeagueThe new space, like the old, does not serve alcohol but is BYOB - the only rule is no hard liquor and no glass.

Backyard Axe Throwing LeagueWriting by Erin Obourn / Photos by Jesse Milns



Sue / January 14, 2014 at 10:11 am
Beer and AXES??? We need this regulated ASAP!!!
Grace / January 14, 2014 at 10:23 am
I had so much fun when I went to the original location on Sterling. The staff and tournament leaders were amazing! I would definitely go again : )
Eve / January 14, 2014 at 10:40 am
Hipsters are taking over the world...sigh...
Puns! replying to a comment from Sue / January 14, 2014 at 10:47 am
What are they going to do, Sue?
W / January 14, 2014 at 11:00 am
Not hipsters... lumberjacks. Hence wearing plaid is totally legit.
Hipsta replying to a comment from Eve / January 14, 2014 at 11:02 am
OMG - people are having fun, getting together and doing something they enjoy. Fucken hipsters. I guess they should just stay home and watch reruns of Pawn Stars instead?
Carl / January 14, 2014 at 11:19 am
I checked this place out on Monday night for their league Orientation open house and had a blast.
After a few throws, I was hooked and signed up.
They're doing two more open house nights, tonight (jan 14th) and tomorrow (jan 15th).
Its a lot of fun and I am excited for the league to start.
Wes / January 14, 2014 at 11:55 am
There are not many "Hipsters" In the league. BATL has very strict safety guidelines. Not sure where this hipster thing is coming from... BATL is open to whoever wants to try it. That does not make it Hipster. I love throwing axes and I am far from being a hipster. What I do love is hanging out with my pals. having a couple beers and beating my friends. Sounds like a nice game of pool or darts. Some hipsters play darts. Some hipsters play pool. Hipsters are everywhere. But by calling all the people who enjoy something fun... hipsters.... Well that's just silly talk from a closed mind. Who has a closed mind nowadays?

You can never knock something you have never tried or afraid of. Come throw axes....

"Everyone wants to throw an axe, they just don't know it yet."

I believe one of BATL's mottos are "Be nice or leave."

Cheers everyone.

Tuesday and Wednesday Night from 7:00 - 9:00. Open house for league sign up or just general interest. Come by.
jay / January 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm
Wes has nailed it--it's like darts, except with axes.
Ben / January 14, 2014 at 02:53 pm
Someone made a mini doc about the guys at BATL:

Rob / January 14, 2014 at 03:04 pm
Last night's events were a group of lawyers and another office party with an average age of 50. One gentleman WAS wearing horn-rimmed glasses, but I don't know if he was a hipster. And if he was - that's just fine with me! All are welcome! Come one, come all - you know you want to! Jan 14(tonight) and Jan 15, 7-9pm. It's free!

Watson replying to a comment from Hipsta / January 14, 2014 at 05:39 pm
Haha! Nailed it:

"OMG - people are having fun, getting together and doing something they enjoy. Fucken hipsters. I guess they should just stay home and watch reruns of Pawn Stars instead?"
Shawn's archery instruction--Andy / January 14, 2014 at 06:19 pm
Great comment Wes!...some call archery a hipster sport as well...I just think that every "group" wants to be part of something fun, unique, and cool :-)
Shawn's archery Instruction--Andy / January 14, 2014 at 06:23 pm
Axe throwing is amazing, and all you guys are great!
Not our fault that hipsters like plaid now too ;-)
Peter / January 15, 2014 at 08:22 am
The hipster thing probably was inspired by the organic beer in the one picture. And .. we all like to generalize, so here's my guess: axe-throwers may be horror movie fans! In general. Or survivalists!
Marky / January 15, 2014 at 09:20 am
We went to BATL once for a friend's birthday, and it was AWESOME. All around great night throwing axes with really really great staff. Id recommend checking it out!
Rob Ford / January 18, 2014 at 09:21 am
Ax throwing was invented by the Fords. Pardon my French!
top 10 web hosting services uk / February 22, 2014 at 12:23 am
Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your blog site in Chrome, it looks fine but
when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
Other then that, very good blog!
Maully replying to a comment from Rob Ford / March 24, 2015 at 02:26 pm
This is Canada. It's an axE.
Charles / April 18, 2015 at 09:01 pm
I need info on starting up a franchise. Please send me an email on the details. Thanks.
Brian McConnell / May 29, 2015 at 01:02 pm
Can anyone help me contact these folks. We're supposed to be going there tomorrow but no one has confirmed back to me despite multiple e-mails and voicemails. Does anyone know a way I can speak to a live person?

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