Squash in Toronto

The top 15 squash courts and clubs in Toronto

Squash season in Toronto is just rolling around now for us afraid-of-the-snow type folk. As an indoor sport squash doesn't take up a whole lot of room, it's fairly straightforward, and not too expensive to play (depending). Of course, there's that whole "coordination" thing, but we need not busy ourselves with details.

Some fortunate city dwellers are lucky enough to have courts right in their apartment or condo buildings. (For a fleeting moment I was among those fortunate few, and let me say, it was brilliant.) But most must look beyond the "Basement" button on the elevator to find a spot to play a game. Here are some places to look, in no particular order.

National Squash Academy
Yes, such a thing actually exists and it lies in the heart of Downsview Park. The facility has 10 courts (including a couple of glass exhibition courts), several trainers onsite, and regularly scheduled programs and tournaments. And while you're bound to meet some series squash partners here, you'll have to fork over some cash for a membership. Prices start at $160 for a four-month membership.

Crescent Town Club
Not far from Victoria Park Station is the aptly named Crescent Town Club, which serves the Crescent Town Community and beyond. The club's rec centre has two American-sized squash courts, which are available for anyone to book a day in advance. Community residents get access to the facilities for free, but non-residents must pay a membership fee of $295 annually.

St. Lawrence Community Recreation Centre
The St. Lawrence CRC is probably your cheapest option for a downtown squash court. The facility on the Esplanade has two courts available, and drop-in rates are $6.50 for 40 minutes of play. Racquet-less players may luck out and mind equipment kicking around the facility to barrow, though generally St. Lawrence doesn't offer squash equipment rentals.

University of Toronto Athletic Centre
A good choice for squash players who also happen to be U of T students. The Athletic Centre has 10 squash courts (five of which are American-style, five slightly smaller British-style), and all the necessary changing and cool-down areas. Members and students can book a court a day in advance by calling the Athletic Centre office during business hours, but must bring their own equipment.

Granite Club
For those who like a little fine wine, plasma screens, and chic furniture with their squash. The Granite Club has two double and five single squash courts, which are viewable from a centre seating area between adjacent court glass walls. Don't expect a $10 drop-in fee here, though, as members will add at least three figures to that number in annual dues.

There are a few YMCA facilities around Toronto that have regulation indoor squash courts. There's the Central YMCA at Yonge and Grosvenor, the North York YMCA at Sheppard and Bayview, and the West End YMCA at College and Dovercourt, all of which have one or more courts. You usually need to call ahead a day in advance for booking, especially, I imagine, when the snow starts to fall.

Toronto Racquet Club
Contrary to popular belief, the Toronto Racquet Club is not a club characterized by excessive noise. (Hmm.. I suppose that would be "racket.") In any case, this club's two singles courts, hardball court, and doubles court are located right in Cabbagetown, though they are strictly reserved for "gentlemen only." Yup, a boy's club.

The Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto
Now here's a racquet club for everyone (well, everyone with several thousand dollars to spend on initiation, annual, and facility fees). The Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto at Yonge and St. Clair offers one doubles and four international singles squash courts, plus areas for dining, lounging, and freshening up after the game. There's also a pro shop just in case anyone has leftover money to restring his or her racquet.

Mayfair Lakeshore has the motherload of squash courts--13 singles glass backed courts, plus a tournament doubles court. Members can reserve the courts for games or one-on-one lessons with club instructors, or participate in group clinics or squash "boot camp." Which likely just consists of picking up the ball--the most excruciating of all squash activities.

L.A. Fitness Don Mills
Nothing says "L.A." like a grey Don Mills landscape, huh? At least you can't see it from inside the L.A. Fitness four doubles courts. Like most other places, members can reserve a court by calling ahead and making a booking.

The Adelaide Club
What fun is a game of squash if you have nothing to compare it to? Or rather, no one? The Adelaide Club hosts its own online squash ladder, letting you see where you rank compared to other club members. The club also has a Monday night house league and its four courts are available for group or private lessons.

Cambridge Club
The Cambridge Club has an over-90's doubles tournament, which, unfortunately, is less impressive than it sounds. The annual event requires that the combined age of the team members be over 90 years of age, so nonagenarian need not (necessarily) apply. The club also has two singles courts and one doubles court, and a variety of year-long tournaments and programs.

Toronto Athletic Club
Toronto Athletic Club has four international singles courts and one doubles court with weekly Round Robin events every Thursday evening. As if weekly squash wasn't exciting enough, there are also snacks! The club's courts are available for bookings by club members, as well as for private or semi-private lessons.

Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club
Though not highlighted in its name, the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club does, indeed, have room for squash. Room for five international singles courts and two doubles courts, in fact. The club also offers programs for various skill levels.

Goodlife Fitness McCaul
Goodlife Fitness on McCaul has four squash courts and, for those without their own equipment, ball and racquet rentals. You actually have to rent the ball and racquet separately though, and two racquets and a ball will end up costing you $14.


Photo by presta on Flickr

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