Training in Toronto, Canada
Ok, so this might get a bit long just wanted to put this information out there for anyone on here travelling to Toronto searching the forums, not so much for discussion.
But for those who want the short and nasty, if you're training in Toronto, Canada go to Toronto Bjj at 813 Bloor Street West and if you need gear go to Beatdown Sports at 768 St Claire Ave West. Screw Revolutions MMA and their business orientated hate for the sport.
And so to the longer version, starting with the bad; Revolutions MMA. I tried to get in contact with Revs approximately 4 months before my visit, I had seen Carlos Newton was teaching there and was very keen to check out one of his classes. After around 10-15 emails, alot of which went unanswered and some of which had the program manager asking me the same question I had answered in the email he was replying to. I was told in the last few days before I flew out that Carlos was no longer free for any private sessions (fairly obvious as it was now about 4 days from when I wanted the private) and that to attend one 2 hour public class run by Carlos it would cost me 100 Canadian dollars (approx. £60). Too rich for my boots, if you're travelling with money by all means try out this cash grabbing gym. They're facilities look great and no bad intention towards Carlos, it's just a shame that the gym management could not be accommodating to a one time of out of town visitor.
So I set off for Canada with no training gear expecting to be stuck all week with work and beer, until whilst at the airport I started to look for somewhere to watch UFC113 and I found Toronto Bjj would be hosting Shogun for the Monday and Tuesday after he won the title. So I went down Monday met the guy (and got a delightful burn picture on a mate that was betting against him) and saw the facilities and coaching staff they had (led by Jorge Britto and Mauricio Veio.) The set up at this gym is perfect, two floors fully matted a full-size cage, boxing ring and plenty of weights. You couldn't really ask for much more. I had to go and train.
Speaking to some of the guys I was recommended Beatdown Sports to pick up some gear and pointed out that the gym offers a two day free trial. Not wanting to take the piss I pointed out that if I took the offer I would never be coming back but they were cool, the response "Of course, come and train." The true response of coaches and fighters wanting to train and not the response of a corporate nobody worrying solely about the bottom line.
So I went to Beatdown and the guy in the shop was great with me, sorting out the cheapest shorts and gum shield he had and even giving me the cash I was short for the subway ride home. I then got down to the Friday night session for Muay Thai, and with Shogun's recent visit Andre "Dida" Amade was there coaching. It was a great session and a very friendly club. It was interesting to see the difference in the Chute Boxe methods to the more traditional thai that I am used to here in the UK, but obviously only so much of this came across in one session.
To summarise, if you're in Toronto briefly or committed to moving there check out Toronto Bjj first. They are the only true MMA gym in the city.
Also worth noting that the sport is huge out there, you don't need to lookup which bar might show a UFC pay per view you can just walk down any street downtown and you will find at least one if not a couple that are. The post fight reactions were on every news broadcast I saw, and were playing in every bar I went in. At one intersection downtown there is a big screen playing MMA (and wwf ) all day. They even show Bellator on it, could you even imagine that level of mainstream acceptance in the UK? Not for a long time.
Sam your a lucky man. Canada is an amazing place and MMA is so big over there.
Huge, just walking around the city the amount of affliction, silver star and tapout you see is unlike anywhere I've been. Fanboys mostly sure, but its good to see the sport get so much recognition.
Hope you're well mate. Was a fascinating city, very multi-cultural with great food. Tourist attractions weren't too spectacular but great food and great training makes it an amazing place to live. Would love to have spent more time there.