Toronto is party central for pro athletes looking to dodge the limelight

Toronto is party central for pro athletes looking to dodge the limelight

Just one of the places to go after defeating one of Toronto's sports teams (Image: Señor Codo)

Toronto is the place to party if you’re a professional athlete. According to the Wall Street Journal, the uptight banker’s go-to social guide, our town has made a name for itself among MLB, NBA and even NFL players for its plethora of skin bars, bicultural girls, low drinking age and a woman named Mona Halem. According to Raptors forward Antoine Wright, Halem is “notorious” throughout the sports world for “assembling attractive party guests to fête nearly every franchise that comes to town.” The Journal details how the pros operate here, in a city once “decidedly off the sports radar,” without being followed by paparazzi. In the end, though, the article reads a bit like an advertorial for Ashley Madison. Three examples, after the jump.

1. Athletes get a warm welcome at the city’s relatively libertine gentlemen’s clubs which…clear out the champagne room” for visiting athletes. And it helps that the tentacles of the tabloids and gossip Web sites rarely extend this far into the frozen north.

2. Jarrett Jack, a Raptors guard, says the “mix of people” in Toronto is far more interesting than he sees in most NBA towns. “One girl told me she’s from Hungary and Chile—I’m like, how does that happen?” says Mr. Jack. “You kind of go outside the box here.”

3. Many of Toronto’s 3,300-plus establishments holding liquor licences are concentrated within walking distance of the city’s major sports venues—and close to the hotels where athletes tend to stay.

Sadly, Toronto’s party scene is not as entertaining for resident athletes, like B.J. Armstrong, who asked to be traded shortly after joining the Raptors several years ago. “It’s pretty much the same people every time,” says Chris Bosh, adding that he gets “hounded” everywhere he goes.

With a record like this, it’s hard to muster much sympathy.

Why Pro Athletes Love Toronto [Wall Street Journal]