Take it Outside
A night with the who’re parking for sex
by Bret Kelly
The recent police presence at Toolbox’s popular Naked Night and
the crackdown on The Barn’s Underwear Party — combined with the
still warm Bijou bust last year — has driven more men to search out
alternative venues for sexual release.
Since the cool wet weather this summer has made outdoor park sex
difficult, venues like parking lots have been increasingly popular with
guys who describe themselves as cruisers.
While seemingly harmless, this activity is nonetheless illegal and
can be extremely risky. Police surveillance isn’t uncommon and gay
bashers often know what locations are popular.
A handful of experienced cruisers — their names have been
changed here —— agreed to speak to fab about their adventures in the
dark parking lots of Toronto.
It’s 9:00 pm on Aug. 13, at a fairly secluded parking lot by Lake
Ontario adjacent to the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club. There are about
20 cars parked and a few men who bane come by on bicycles. Larry is 26,
lives downtown west and bar been cruising for four years. Marcus is 28,
lives in the greater Toronto area and bas been active in this scene for
almost 10 years. Drake is 35, also lives downtown and has been a cruiser
for 13 years.
What attracts you to this kind of sex as opposed to the
bar scene, the bath houses or even meeting someone over
MARCUS: It’s not so obvious, not everyone knows what you’re
doing down here. It’s not like the bathhouse where you have to be
stripped down naked with a towel. The club scene is basically a meat
market, which is the same here, but at least you get some steel.
LARRY: It’s very convenient. You come down, you zip through,
and you know what they’re here for and see if there’s anything you
like. Whereas if you go to a club you could spend hours there and not
meet anyone. It’s also an outlet, as I was still coming out and I wasn’t
into the bar scene when I started coming here.
DRAKE: The variety of people who you meet is actually better in
this kind of situation. Conversation isn’t on the menu at a bathhouse.
I always think of this as ﬁshing —— you can go out and even if you ‘
don’t meet anyone you say to yourself “it was a nice night out.” If you
go to a bathhouse and didn’t have sex, y0u’re totally disappointed. You
also meet a different range of gay people here, because if you go to a
bathhouse you probably aren’t going to meet guys who are coming
out. It would be a big step to go there. The whole range is represent-
ed down here: gay, bi, straight and married.
What types of men do you find in these places?
MARCUS: There are a lot of married guys ranging from early 20s
to 40s, still attractive and still very horny. They come down here for
one thing —— the sex — and then go back to their wives. Some just
don’t want to admit to being gay, but they like going down on a click
— that’s not being gay to them. If they kiss, that’s gay to them.
What is the appeal of this type of activity?
LARRY: The risk.
MARCUS: The fact that you don’t know if he’s gay or straight.
That’s sort of a turn on.
DRAKE: The range. Sometimes clothes tell us more about people.
If he was naked at a bathhouse you might walk by and go he’s not
much but the clothes are a part of the fantasy.
LARRY: It’s an addiction.
MARCUS: It’s a sexual addiction. It’s not normal.
DRAKE: It’s more of an alternative social scene. I do this more in
the summer. In the winter I can’t be bothered. It’s open 24 hours and
you know there’s no hassles, most of the time.
LARRY: There’s no games. You know you are here for a reason.
Are all of you in relationships? And do you continue to
come down here when you are in a relationship?
LARRY: I met the guy that I was dating for a while here and we
took it_out of the lot. Personally, I don’t like the idea of my boyfriend
coming down here. Then we had problems because I found out that
even though I was staying away he wasn’t. He claimed that it was an
addiction thing and that he wasn’t doing anything. Whether or not,
the idea of him coming down here and people pulling up to him
is enough to annoy me. I’ve learned that it’s not conducive to
DRAKE: I’ve had the same boyfriend for the last seven years. We
have a totally open relationship and lucky for me he’s not into the park
scene and it’s my free space.
MARCUS: I met my first boyfriend down here. He basically
taught me the ropes, who to talk to and how to talk to them and who
to stay away from, what to do when the cops are bugging you, what
your rights are. We started the relationship here, which was sort of
weird, because we would have sex down here. He lived in a bachelor
apartment with a roommate and it was difficult to have sex with her
there, so we’d come here, as I was still living at home [with parents]
at the time.
Are all of you out?
MARCUS: No, no I’m not. My family doesn’t know, my friends
don’t for the most part — some do but it’s the ones that have seen me
LARRY: My family doesn’t know, my friends from growing up
don’t know. The new people who I meet I am out to.
DRAKE: Oh yeah, I’m out.
Would you recommend cruising?
LARRY: I don’t go around advertising it.
DRAKE: I wouldn’t recommend it over any normal gay cruising
scene. It’s not a bad place to come out though. Basically, that’s how I
came out, because you call the shots. At a bar it’s sort of like, once
you’re inside, its like “Oh my God.” But if you’re sitting in your car,
you are in a familiar place.
Most of the activity here tonight is conﬁned to cars. The men gathered
outdoor: are in small groups and seem to he doing nothing more than
chatting and laughing. Men walk up and down the lot looking into
the windows of the parked cars to get a better look. Occasionally, someone
will get into another vehicle hut, for the most part, everyone here is
What kind of sex are you having down here?
ALL: Everything goes!
LARRY: From just making out to oral to anal to everything off in
the bush or in the car. Everything happens.
MARCUS: A couple of weeks ago, there was a contest who had the
biggest cock or something. Basically, 15 seconds later everyone is
stripped down—a good nine or 10 of us and there was even a couple
watching‘ from the side. But there was at least nine of us involved.
Are you having safe sex down here?
MARCUS: Some aren’t. I don’t believe in that kinda stuff. I just do
oral and keep it to a minimum.
DRAKE: I think the first time down here, it’s wank and chat and
some oral. If you hit it off, the next time you might take it out of here,
if you’re going to get into f—-king. At this spot I haven’t but at anoth-
er venue I have witnessed unsafe sex.
LARRY: At Cherry Beach there’s a guy who walks through handing
out condoms. ‘
MARCUS: I’ve seen him down in Boystown handing out condoms
to the hustlers. He must have lost a lover or something.
The men down here all seem normal and wouldn’t appear out-of-place
at a nightclub: some are very attractive, some are average and a few are
overweight. The only thing that separates it from a bar setting is that there
is no alcohol (although, the smell of marijuana ﬂoats by every so often)
and the men are friendlier and appear more comfortable with each other.
How did you find out about the cruising scene?
MARCUS: Actually, it was introduced by an associate, someone
that I bumped into downtown. We met at Cawthra Park and he said
“I know of another place.” At Cawthra Park it was pretty obvious
what was going on; bushes don’t move by themselves.
DRAKE: Friends and people who you met at other cruising places
that know the other places, the Internet now. I followed another car
[tonight], you find a good—looking man and you follow him.
Continued on page 20
LARRY: A gentleman brought me down to High Park and then he
showed me the other parking lot over there [pointing towards the
parking lot by the Sunnyside swimming pool] and he showed me
How does one go about cruising down here? What’s stan-
dard procedure? ‘
DRAKE: Typically, I drive up and down [the parking lot] getting a
look at each vehicle. I know each vehicle ‘cuz I’ve been here so many
times, I’ll know who they are. When I see a new car, I’ll pull up to it
but not too close, ‘cuz you don’t want to be too forceful, and then
you’ll just sit and exchange stares. Then, all of a sudden you’ll get the
hint that it’s safe to cruise and you’ll get a hand gesture or a body
movement to suggest that he’s masturbating. Then, you show your
piece, they’ll show you their piece and you pull up closer and then
usually words are exchanged.
LARRY: If you’re talking, it’s sorta subtle like “what are you doing
tonight” or “what are you into?” and then “you wanna join me?”
What other venues are popular in this scene?
LARRY: Cherry Beach is big. Marie Curtis [on the border of
‘Mississauga and Etobicoke] is big. High Park was big.
MARCUS: It’s big by [High Park at] Bloor, you gotta walk in but
it’s still too risky. They’ll even hide the police cruisers right in there.
Does this activity happen year round?
LARRY: All year. ’
MARCUS: In the wintertime it’s crazy down here, especially after
snow storms. You’d be surprised because the cops won’t be going
MARCUS: There’s no busy hour, sometimes early in the morning
you’ll get the odd executive driving through.
LARRY: It’s harder in the summer ‘cuz there’s people [in-line skat-
ing] by but it’s done. i
DRAKE: At Cherry Beach, [where] you have quite the amount of foliage and big puddles everywhere and about four o’clock and some-
times lunchtime, you’ll see a guy in a $400 suit and leather shoes
walking around. It’s 35 degrees in the shade and he looks like he’s
looking for the photocopier.
LARRY: Especially, after club hours. On a weekend, it’s busy after
1:00 or 2:00 [am].
There are no marked vehicles tonight. On a previous evening a
police cruiser took a tour through the lot but no one was questioned.
That same evening a plain-clothed officier did identify himself flashed a
light into a parked SUV and asked the men inside what they were doing.
Is there a risk in coming down here? In other situations:
bath houses. the club scene you have a safety net to
LARRY: I find it safer here, I’ve had a couple of instances that were
scary from meeting a guy and bringing him home [from a club]. But
one time a guy was walking and I didn’t realize that he wasn’t in a car.
We got together in my car and the next thing I know he’s hitting me
up for money. He didn’t pull out a gun or anything but he was threat-
ening me. I didn’t have any but I could tell that he was high on some-
thing, so I played it like “you know what, you wait here and I’ll get
some cash and come back” and then I just took off. But now I’ve
learned. If I see a guy in a car fine, but no car, forget it.
DRAKE: There’s always a certain level of risk. I think that more
and more people are willing to take this level of risk. The police are
cruising the bars and [there was] the whole Bijou thing last year. The
safe places you’re ﬁnding aren’t that safe anymore. At least if you’re
here, it’s not that obvious that you’re here for sex. You’re free to move,
you can leave immediately and there’s no such thing as a found-in. I
think there’ll be more outdoor activity in the future if they keep com-
ing down on the established safe spaces.
MARCUS: I had a weird encounter with undercover cops, it was a
man and woman and they didn’t identify who they were. They wait-
ed until people hooked up in cars and began ﬂashing lights at every-
one’s waist level, trying to see if anything was exposed I assume or
[looking for] drugs or ﬁrearms. Then, they asked for everyone’s iden-
tiﬁcation and driver’s license, they ran it through the computer and
then they said it was private property. Which is bull but they play that
to try to scare you.
Are the police targeting straight and gays equally?
DRAKE: At Cherry Beach if the cars are parked close to the bridge,
which are usually fisherman, they don’t get ticketed on the nights that
everyone else is ticketed, in the [same] area where people just hop out
and go cruise.
LARRY: We parked the car in the lot. We went into the bush [at
Cherry Beach]; we came back and found all these cars lined up to get
out. We thought “what’s going on?’” We thought there was an acci-
dent. It took us two hours to get out of there and they were literally
stopping each car and ticketing everybody in a car. They ticketed us
$65 dollars [driver and the passenger for trespassing].
Do you know what your rights are if you do get caught?
LARRY: Actually, no.
DRAKE: I do. You don’t have to give your name unless you’re sus-
pected of a crime. If you were, they would have to tell you what the
crime is. It has to be specific; it can’t be “Well, we heard there was
some stuff” going on here.” That’s what they usually say, and that’s just
an intimidation tactic. You don’t have to give any information and you
can simply walk away. That might not be the best way, as they could
use that as evidence that you were guilty of something.