Your Local Neighbourhood Bathhouse: Steamworks

Bathhouses in Canada are an iconic gay haven for the sexually expressive, DTF (down-to-fuck), men who enjoy a good consensual romp with a stranger or two, or four or twelve. The true sex-stars of the gay community are those whose Hermès and D&G belt-notches range in the thousands and whose membership card at Steamworks bears a similar mileage. Those cards have been whipped out so many times they look vintage.

Yes, Steamworks is a gay bath house established in 1975 to bring together both the out and the closeted, the sluts and the curious and of course the tops and bottoms. With locations in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa, the popular American chain has established a tight bears-hug on the sex lives of many. Membership is required but there is an anonymous check in for those who wish.

Steamworks operates closely within the LGTB community to provide safer sex education, information and products—free condoms, literature and more are provided made available to all patrons. Working closely with Hassle Free Clinic, Steamworks has helped remove much of the lingering stigma from the 70s and 80s. People are respecting the AIDS pandemic without allowing it to scare them away from their sexuality. The bathhouse culture has become trans-generational and not just a place for one demographic of sex-savvy pervs to work out in (literally and figuratively—it boasts a gym within its arsenal of amenities).

All rates can be found on their website with room and locker rentals ranging from $13 for 8 hours during weekdays up to $52 for extra-large/extreme rooms during the weekend. A room for a night at Steamworks is cheaper than a hotel room and carries infinitely more possibilities for adventure.

Safety of all guests is of paramount concern, which is why this 24/7/365 establishment always has friendly and helpful staff to provide information and the assurance that no drugs are being sold or used. The slogan of the club is 'Play Hard, Play Smart.' Their secondary maxim—shared by the 100 000+ guests each year—is ‘no means no.’ General Manager, John BrodHagen insists on this rule of etiquette for the safety and enjoyment of all guests. "Our role is to set the bar on what a clean, safe space for men to have sex with men should be. All of our clubs have a 0% tolerance to the use of alcohol and illegal drugs. In addition, we sponsor many community organizations that hold the same sex-positive views that we do and proudly allow the use of our name in promoting these views."

These facilities guarantee a little something for everybody with 10 914 sq. ft of space—10% Gym, 15% Hot Tub/Wet and Dry Sauna, 15% Public Play Spaces (Slings/Slurp Ramp/Glory Holes), 5% Public Seating/DJ Area, 5 % Locker Room and 50% Rooms. Facilitating sex is Steamworks bread and butter and is the largest gay bathhouse in Toronto making it a must-visit party space year-round, but especially during this upcoming Pride. Paint the walls and some faces fellas!

by Elliot Shermet