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Sports & Play

Toronto Rock Climbing Gyms

Posted by Robyn Urback / April 8, 2011

Rock Climbing TorontoToronto rock climbing gyms are not simply for the skilled adventure-seeker, which was what I had thought prior to entering an indoor rock climbing facility for the first time. I, being neither skilled ("Hey there, dry pavement; when did you become so slippery?), nor adventure-seeking ("Whoa, slow down there, elevator), was somewhat daunted by the callous display of strength exhibited by harnessless men destroying a bouldering wall.

I soon learned, however, that climbing gyms could provide a great afternoon activity--nevermind fantastic workout--for even the most novice individuals. Indeed, as a seven-year-old scampered up a route beside me, I began to appreciate just how flexible the sport can be. The gyms listed below all offer introductory courses to get your started, and lots of varied routes to keep things interesting. If you're looking to try out a climbing gym in Toronto, consider one of these:

The Rock Oasis
The Rock Oasis has been around for more than 10 years and has over 60 routes in its 15,000 sq ft facility. I've found it to be a superb gym if you're looking for walls of varying difficulty (including bouldering caves) and great heights of up to 60 feet. New climbers are required to take a lesson ($35), which includes unlimited climbing time. Experienced climbers can sign up for monthly or annual memberships, as well as climbing and technique courses. Located at 388 Carlaw Ave.

Boulderz Climbing Centre
Boulderz Climbing Centre on Dupont west of Lansdowne is one of the newer gyms on the scene. Visually, it's pretty interesting-looking with lots of short bouldering routes and angular changes throughout its walls. Boulderz also offers many options for kids, including camps, birthday parties, as well as a mini bouldering wall with a slide. Adult intro classes are $35 and come with a two-week pass.

Joe Rockhead's Indoor Rock Climbing
Joe Rockhead's was the first on the scene, opening back in 1990 and currently occupying a space of more than 21,000 sq ft. The extra room can really come in handy, especially since some climbing gyms sometimes feel overcrowded when they start to get busy. Joe Rockhead's is always changing up routes to keeps things fresh and recently expanded its bouldering walls. Introductory classes are $35, with the option to "supersize" (+$10) for a two-week pass, t-shirt, and magazine subscription. Located on Fraser Avenue south of Liberty.

Toronto Climbing Academy
While many of us had cozied up to Toronto Climbing Academy's old location at Queen and Broadview (myself included), its new facility in East York promises more than 60 stations of belaying glee. Plus, there's over 4000 sq. ft. of bouldering terrain, in addition to top-rope routes and various specially designed artificial surfaces. Toronto Climbing Academy offers beginner lessons ($35), as well as intermediate clinics, lead courses, and private, birthday, and corporate lessons.

True North Climbing Inc.
True North Climbing Inc. is part of the Downsview Park Sports Centre on Carl Hall Road east of Sheppard and Keele. It has 50 top-ropes, 15 lead-only ropes, and more than 150 boulder problems. After you've completed the introductory class ($30 +HST), you can drop in for one of the weekly technique classes, which are offered for free every Monday evening. Truth North Climbing also offers "Weekend Scramble" sessions for kids, at $30 per child.

Photo by Jeremy Nathan in the blogTO Flickr pool



James / April 8, 2011 at 11:43 am
I'm a huge fan of Boulderz. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and the people at the gym are talented, friendly, and social. The problems are a bit difficult for the new comer, but there's plenty of help and advice to go around during those first few visits. I can't recommend it enough!
DV / April 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm
FYI: The Rock Oasis will be moving to 388 Carlaw on June 27.
b replying to a comment from DV / April 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm
I'll be a very sad day when the two towers close :(
Sadi / April 10, 2012 at 09:06 am
Michael's Belay Glasses: Don't crane your neck while belaying. Wear these glasses and look forward to gaze upward saving on neck strain. They allow the belayer to more fully concentrate their attention to the task at hand, especially on long, protracted sessions. They accomplish this at roughly a 1/4 of the cost of the other product on the market, putting this easier into the average climbers budget.
Aurelia / March 13, 2013 at 07:20 am
I'm coming to Quebec to work in a summer camp, and will be staying for a while in Toronto. To be able to do my job I need a standard belay certification (just for indoor belaying, no lead). They don't have them in Australia.
Anyone know where I can do this in Toronto?
email me if you can;

Belay Safe / April 3, 2013 at 08:50 pm
Try Belay Safe Glasses
Belay Safe / April 3, 2013 at 08:50 pm
online climbing resource / September 24, 2013 at 03:46 am
Planning a rock climbing trip is the same as going for an adventurous trip. Some prefer climbing through fast routes and short distances whereas others like climbing longer rock faces.
Jay / December 29, 2015 at 11:35 pm
I visited HUB climbing gym in Markham recently and I was really impressed. There was something accessible and just the right level of challenging for each member of our party. The place was organized and friendly... will definitely go again! Robyn Urback-- if you do another review of climbing gyms, please don't forget this one!
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