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Things get medieval on Essex Street

The Royal Garrison offers axe throwing, archery and fencing
20170223 royal garrison ts
Manager James Roque poses with some of the throwing axes for use at The Royal Garrison on Essex Street. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

James Roque, manager of The Royal Garrison, has a theory about the benefits of throwing an axe into a hunk of tree.

"A lot of people say it's really good for stress relief and I suspect it is," said Rourque, "and an axe is easy to throw. Really easy to land. Knives take technique and practice."

The Royal Garrison is a new business located at 28 Essex Street just off downtown that allows people to try the medieval sports of axe throwing, knife throwing, archery and fencing.

The Royal Garrison is a bit of a throwback in that it's a social and physical recreational activity.

The owner is Thomas Gofton, who has carved out a bit of a niche downtown with a group of businesses that now include the Round Table Board Game Tavern, the Afterlife Video Game Lounge on Wyndham Street and the escape rooms of The Khronos Gauntlet.

The axes at The Royal Garrison are real throwing axes, not hatchets. The bows are of various tensions for people of all size, age and ability, Roque said.

Instruction prior to participation is a must and experts are always on hand to run participants through a training session, Roque said.

While The Royal Garrison has been taking bookings for a couple of weeks during its soft opening, the official opening is happening this week and the grand opening takes place Saturday at 11.

“We’ve created an immersive experience where people can shoot, toss and jab among a unique and hand-crafted medieval décor,” said Gofton in a press release.

Roque said people can come in and pay by the hour. Monthly and yearly memberships are also available.

Group bookings, including corporate outings, are available on request from Monday to Friday up to 4 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

There are set times for fencing, all can be found, along with pricing, on the web site at

The fencing is open to ages eight and up, while archery is for youth 12 and up.

“The goal is to offer people in Guelph something new, an activity or evening out that’s fun, active, and memorable in a way that you can’t find anywhere else in the city,” Gofton added.


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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