Knife-throwing comes to Toronto

Robert Liwanag/ Ryersonian Staff

(Robert Liwanag/Ryersonian Staff)

Ever watch an action movie where characters expertly throw knives at wooden targets? It turns out you can do that in real life, thanks to the only group dedicated to the sport in Toronto.

The Toronto Knife Throwing Organization (TKTO) opened its indoor range last month. Located in East York, it features eight throwing lanes and has quickly gained a following.

“The appeal of knife-throwing is that it’s a very dynamic sport in that there’s a lot you can do with it,” said Jonathan Howcroft, TKTO co-founder. “You don’t just stand in one spot and do one thing there are a lot of different types of knives you can throw and there are a lot of different disciplines.”

Players can choose from a variety of throwing styles rotational, no-spin and long distance. TKTO also offers a “quick draw” system that consists of two players going into a cage with two targets and seeing who the fastest thrower is.

“There’s a proper form to knife-throwing and it’s not unlike golf in that when you’re golfing, you change your club and never your throw,” said Howcroft. “It takes a lot of practice and there are advanced techniques, but once you maintain a consistency, it’s very easy to learn.”

The knives vary in weight and length, making them more controllable than your average sporting goods store knives. More importantly, they tend not to bounce back after missing a target.

And the answer to the million dollar question: since the knives are unsharpened, they can’t stab or cut anybody. In fact, Howcroft says the only things that injure players are blisters.


(Robert Liwanag/Ryersonian staff)

“Anything this fun is just a tiny bit dangerous, but in the history of competitive knife-throwing, there’s never been an incident,” he said.

TKTO had its beginnings in a backyard where Howcroft and his friends would throw knives into a tree stump for fun. When word spread across the city and more people began playing, an outdoor range with four lanes was opened.

Eventually, the new East York venue was opened to permit play during colder months.

“The majority of the people that come are actually from out this way, and they like the fact that we’re out here,” he said. “But that’s not to say that people don’t come from all over the place.”

The interest in knife-throwing reflects the sport’s growth worldwide — TKTO players with high scores can submit them for world ranking. There’s even an International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame where Howcroft acts as provincial representative for Ontario.

Howcroft says he and his team are entertaining the idea of opening a second location in the west end. At the moment, however, his main goals are gaining more visitors and being able to host more competitions.

“You don’t know if you’ll love knife-throwing until you come and try it.”

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