Note - OCCS in Mississauga's indoor range does allow crossbowmen. You have to bring your own portable target butt and there is a fee for using the range. Take special note of their safety and footwear requirements.
Is there a private range that teaches large groups of people such as bachelor parties, birthday parties, company events, etc?
No. There are no local businesses that teach large numbers of people. The reasons why are similar to the reasons why nobody rents out archery equipment. (If you are looking for a place that caters to bachelor parties/company events/etc then we recommend you try BATL, the Backyard Axe Throwing League, which has 2 locations in Toronto and 1 in Pickering. It may not be archery, but it is still a lot of fun.)
What is the best way to get into archery if you are a beginner?
What is the best way is a matter of opinion. Here are three possible routes you might take.
Option #1. Buy your own equipment and practice + possibly buying a How-To-Book like "Archery - Steps to Success" (beginner) or "Precision Archery" (intermediate to advanced).
Option #2. Hire an archery instructor before purchasing equipment. This way you learn how to do archery first before buying equipment that might not suit you. Better to get advice first.
Option #3. Build your own bow (PVC or wood) and just wing it. Because shooting with a homemade bow can be just as much fun as anything you can purchase in a store.
What is the difference between a longbow and shortbow? Which one is best?
Longbows are evidently longer, and typically used by a person on foot. Think Robin Hood. Shortbows - sometimes known as horsebows or horseman bows - can be used on foot but is meant to be used from horseback. Think Mongolian, Hungarian, Persian or Korean Horsebows. (The image below is of a Korean equestrian archer.)
There is no "best". It is really more a matter of which bow is best suited for the activity. Shortbows are evidently better for shooting while on horseback because they give the archer a great range of motion.
What equipment should I purchase if I am a beginner?
You will need:
A bow - for beginners we recommend a 3 piece recurve like a Jandao ($120), Ragim ($130), or Samick ($150). If you shop online / order from a store you can get higher quality bows too. eg. Bear, Hoyt, Martin, PSE and similar higher quality companies also sell 3 piece and 1 piece recurves.
Note - Buy a bow you can pull easily without shaking. If you buy a bow that is too powerful you won't be able to use it properly. Don't let the lack of inventory in a store result in you buying whatever they have available. Order something you can use properly and wait for it to arrive at the store.
Arrows - 10 or 12 is a good number to start with. Don't buy the cheap fibreglass arrows that look like plastic. They break super easily. Get carbon or aluminum arrows instead. Expect to spend at least $6 per arrow on quality arrows. You also need your arrows to have the correct spine flexibility for your bow. The stronger the bow the less flexible / stronger the spine should be.
Easy Pull Arrowheads. Good quality arrows often don't come with the arrowheads and need to be purchased separately. Arrowheads are measured by weight in grains. 100 or 125 grain arrowheads is a good weight for beginners. Don't buy anything too big or too small.
Bowstringer - you need this to string your bow without twisting the limbs / damaging your bow. Stringing a recurve without a bowstringer voids the warranty.
Finger gloves, shooting tab or thumb ring to protect your fingers. Some people like to shoot without gloves or a tab, but they get really sore fingers over time - and prolonged use of a heavier poundage bow with no finger protection can cause serious nerve damage to your fingers. Traditionally people wore gloves or used a thumb ring while shooting.
Armguard / bracer to protect your bow arm. Because string burn really hurts.
I am new to archery and want to buy my own bow but I don't know how many pounds my bow should be. How do I decide?
Luckily there is a formula for determining this.
First, what is your age?
Second, how tall are you for your age?
Third, are you slight, medium or large frame?
Thus if you an adult who is tall and strong a good starter bow for you is 24 lbs. You might even be able to handle more, but you should practice on 24 lbs for now and upgrade to a more powerful bow later. Always best to build your form and strength first before upgrading to something more powerful.
Always try pulling back the bow in the store before purchasing (get the staff to string it for you). Pull back with your elbow and forearm in line with an imaginary arrow (don't dryfire the bow!). Pull back until your fingers are touching your chin or mouth. Hold steady for 12 seconds. If your arm is shaking like crazy after 12 seconds this bow is too powerful for you. If you can't even pull it back to your chin it is WAY too powerful for you.
What kind of arrows or arrowheads are we allowed to use?
The brand names of arrows don't really matter. Arrows are commonly made from wood, bamboo, aluminum, carbon fibre, and fibreglass.
Regarding arrowheads, field points (also known as target points) are safe to use. Broadheads (with sharp blades) are strictly prohibited.
Is it possible to have a picnic or BBQ at the archery range?
Picnic yes, BBQ no. The City of Toronto prohibits the use of BBQs in that section of the park.
However if you go to Serena Gundy Park or Sunnybrook Park further north, they have public BBQs installed there. You just need to bring a grill, matches and charcoal with you. Serena Gundy Park is approx. a 15 minute walk from the archery range so you could have a picnic/BBQ there, and then walk to the range afterwards.
What places are there to eat near the archery range?
There are quite a few places nearby. Including two Tim Hortons (one on Don Mills and one on Overlea), a McDonalds, a Wendy's, several sushi places, several all-you-can-eat places including Itamae Sushi on Don Mills, Maki Sushi on Laird and the Mongolian Grill north of Eglinton on Don Mills. There are also a plethora of ethnic delights on nearby Overlea and Laird. And pubs, like The Leaside Pub or the Old Fish and Chips place both on Laird. Last but not least, Wisey's Pie Shop at Eglinton and Laird.
What if I have additional questions?
If you have additional questions not shown here email us and we will add your question and our answer to our FAQ page.