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Target Butts Vs Portable Targets

September 17th 2019.


I am part of a Facebook Group revolving around the ET Seton Archery Range by the Science Centre.

I am seeing a lot of photos being posted of people breaking the rules such as using targets other than the target butts.

I know the land is donated by the Seton family so it is under municipal ownership. I was wondering what actual enforcement of the rules is possible if people break them?



Hello T.W.!

Archers must shoot at targets at the archery range, whether they be the free target butts provided by the city or portable targets they brought themselves.

The bylaw specifically states users of the range must shoot at targets, but it is deliberately vague about what type of targets.

Eg. Portable block targets, 3D foam targets of animals, dinosaurs, fish, aliens, zombies, etc are all acceptable targets.

This is not the first time this topic has come up either. We previously consulted a lawyer on this topic and determined that when a law is vague it is meant to be interpreted in the broadest possible sense. So in a case like the bylaw stating that people using the range must use targets, it means that all targets (including portable targets) are legitimate for use.

With respect to enforcement of the bylaws (and matters of safety) archers are expected to self police. If you spot someone breaking a bylaw or endangering the safety of others then you have three options:

  1. Ask the person to please stop.
  2. Call a bylaw officer.
  3. Call the police if there is a serious issue.

Note that the bylaws doesn't cover everything. Eg. Acts of stupidity and a lack of common sense. Fortunately there is also Reckless Endangerment with a Firearm.

Remember that reckless endangerment with a firearm is a serious offense, carrying a $4000 fine and possible prison time. People using the archery range are expected to behave with the same level of care that you would see at a gun range.

Typically most people behave themselves when you ask them to please stop doing something, however if they continue to act dangerously it is recommended you document what they are doing (video is best) and call 911.

If they are doing something obviously dangerous you might want to just call 911 immediately. Eg. If you saw someone shooting at another person you should probably call 911 right away.

This time of year (September to December) you will likely see many bowhunters at the range, as bowhunting season is upon us. Many bowhunters who use compounds prefer to bring their own portable targets. This is quite normal.

"Thanks for the reply.

For my own reference, what specific chapter of the municipal code covers the proper use of public archery ranges? There are so many bylaws it is hard to find but I would like to read through it.



Toronto Municipal Bylaw 608-4

608-4. Firearms and offensive weapons.

  • A. While in a park, no person shall be in possession of or use a firearm, air gun, cross bow, bow and arrow, axe, paint guns or offensive weapon of any kind unless authorized by permit.
  • B. Despite Subsection A, bows and arrows may be used in designated areas in accordance with posted conditions.

    For the list of posted conditions see the archery range rules.

    Please observe ALL of the archery range rules when visiting the Toronto Archery Range. It is also advised that all archers follow proper etiquette and behave responsibly at the archery range. When in doubt, follow common sense.

    If you have any questions please read our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have a question not covered by the FAQ you can always ask.