Clubs and Bars

Bears in Excess

Posted by Bruce on August 19, 2018
Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Salon and Spa, Try It! / No Comments

The terrible din of crowbars and sledgehammers wielded against wooden doors and marble walls.

That’s what Peter Bochove remembers most about the night of Feb. 5, 1981, when police descended on four of Toronto’s bathhouses and rounded up close to 300 men.

They were herded into the bathhouse lobbies, many dressed only in towels. Some had numbers marked on their arms. Others would later tell of being pressed for the names of their wives and bosses.

The majority were arrested at the Richmond Street Health Emporium, owned by Bochove. It was so badly damaged during the raid that it never reopened. Exerp from the Toronto Star  NICKI THOMAS STAFF REPORTER
Fri., Feb. 4, 2011

Thank God Times have changed. It’s always important to remember so we never return to those dark days again.

Bruce in the City

Hey you sexy bears! It’s great to be back! It’s amazing to be connected with bears from all over the world and I love meeting you on my Instagram @bruceinthecity and here on my official blog Today it’s all about the bears!
I love giving you a birds eye view from my Canadian perspective. I’m a Toronto Bear Cub and telling you about the bears of the North makes me proud. Canadians and the US bears has shared a special friendship for a long time and we definitely love when you come to visit us! Recently I attended a super sexy event at one of Toronto’s most popular men’s spas “Spa Excess” when in my fair city it’s a very popular go to for the bear community. Their Bear events draw a colourful mix of fellows who leave their inhibitions at the door. This place is easy going down to earth and a great place to meet and greet and meat and greet!

“It’s so popular and so wonderful an evening, because a lot of people are alone and not many people come as a couple,” “It’s become like one big, huge family.” excerpt from the Toronto 2014, StarLaura Armstrong
Staff Reporter

The Bears in Excess event I attended there recently happens once a month along with Chubs at the Tubs where the alpha bears are out in droves.
The energy is great. There’s prizes to be won and money to be raised to help local relevant causes. This day was to raise funds, for a close friend of the organizer,who needed a serious life saving surgery.  I met bears from all over the world at the event including some of you fine mates from across the boarder! There’s like four levels  of fun in this spa and a bar to get you in the right frame of mind. The staff is helpful and the staffs are plenty! It’s great to see the Gay community embracing us more voluptuous Queers and it’s really about time being that full size is now in vogue. I hope this beautiful trend continues. Body shaming is so 1990’s! Come and be a saint or sinner at the next Bear event if your visiting Toronto. We just love you our bears from the south. Check out Bears in Excess on Instagram for current event info @bearsinexcess organizer @fluffyeric (Eric)
Have a great August! See you in September you sexy Bears!

Bruce in the City

Make Em Laugh

Hey Whazzzuuuuuup Brucesters!

My shits and giggles on funny dudes continues with this guy, Jeewan Gill. Now I gotta say he was all in my funny books until I learned he doesn’t really like Toronto. Stop me in my tracks! I mean, I love Toronto. The reason I got this blog going in 2010 was my love affair with this incredibly diverse city. And now I’m reviewing Jeewan funny guy to find out he disdains my city. As Madonna would sing, “Where do we go from here?” This is where I put my personal opinion aside and just tell you how funny this guy is. Jeewan? Does it mean funny man? No, in fact it doesn’t! However it does mean “Bringer of Life” so really it could mean funny guy! Being funny brings life to those sitting in the bell jar. His comedy was sharp and relevant. He was incredibly disarming and I even thought he would be even better with a larger audience. Jeewan is a west coast boy. He truly believes he was bred from birth to disdain Toronto. A city that seems to be doing good by him. Maybe he’ll change his tune on that one. He’s a Border City Comedy Festival finalist. He seems to enjoy creating humour out of incidences that normally find it missing. Of course that means touching on subject matter that may cause the squeamish to squirm.
I thought his stand up was good and solid. I’d go check him out again if given the opportunity. Hey wait! He’s opening for Chris Robinson May 13th at comedy bar and apparently the show is being taped. I might just have to crash that party! You can find him on twitter for more info @jeewangill2

4 kisses out of 5


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

They Call Him Mr. Tornado Jizz!

Posted by Bruce on May 06, 2018
Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Local Talent, Pubs / No Comments


People are often saying I’m a funny guy. I’ve even been told that by people I admire in the comedy world, seriously, to my surprise. I think it’s safe to say most people think they’re funny. I think I have my moments, but I honestly don’t know if I could ever brave up and do stand up. The idea of being up there on your own with people just waiting for you to make them laugh. To literally alter the mood of an entire room or even a stadium seems like the scariest business transaction ever signed. I was invited to a restaurant/club Thursday night for a comedy show and I had nothing overly pressing to do so I took John with me and decided with an open mind that I would be ready to laugh my balls off. Between ball jokes and pot jokes and the Jew telling Jew jokes, most of the night was awkward and uncomfortable at best. There were some high moments for sure but only a couple of comedians honestly made me laugh out loud for all to hear. I’m going to share the bios of those fellows with you over the month! I mean it is May Madness! Some of these boys were definitely mad! I just seriously think that people need to laugh more; at themselves, at each other, and certainly at our genitalia. How can we take ourselves that seriously with body parts that act like that?

Ladies and Fellows this is Che!

Che Durena was born and raised in British Columbia. He decided to make the trip to Toronto when he discovered his love for stand up comedy.

Since then he’s been hustling the GTA comedy scene to become one of the city’s best up and comers. I think his Instagram says it all! Tornado Jizz! If that doesn’t make you want to laugh, swallow, gag, sniff, inhale, or wipe I’m not sure you’re looking to laugh at all!

He came runner up in Sirius XM’s Next Top Comic, had headlining shows at JFL42, and has appeared on JFL All Access on Comedy Central.

His comedy touches on his ridiculous life living abroad and his perception of more serious matters like race, relationship, and drugs. Always finding an absurd angle to create a fresh and hilarious perspective.

Certainly his good looks and self confidence doesn’t hurt him either, but he’s got the goods and aside from that cocky demeanour he’s a realist and gracious to be sure.

It’s important to connect with people as a stand up comic. You’ve got only fleeting moments to hook, line, and sinker and that’s some hard core truth. As much as the audience is hoping to enjoy some shits and giggles, they’re secretly edging for a cliff walk.

Che balances that cliff like a tight rope walker and left us all hanging for more!

Check him out on Instagram for @tornadojizz near you!

4 kisses out of 5


A note from the Editor:  I love comedy. David and I went to a few late night comedy shows when we went on our anniversary cruise and I was crying, laughing so hard!

Mary Ellen Monk

That Was Halloween

Posted by Bruce on November 05, 2017
Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Contests, Pubs / No Comments

Hey B.I.T.C readers!

I gotta say I’m a bit concerned with what I see going on around my city. Permit after permit for the allowance of condo development in the heart of local Toronto villages. It’s spookier than Halloween.
I love progress but it’s totally out of control. I love all the villages in my great city but I’m going to take this opportunity to keep my focus on the gay village. It’s literally getting pillaged with obsorbant rents giving way for major condo developers to swoop in and build their massive structures. The government makes their gold through taxes and we get stuck with corporate coffee shops and drug marts. We lose all the heart and heritage that makes a city a place where people want to mingle and mix and be. The crap truth is that these condos are getting bought up by foreign investors that’s don’t even live in the places. It’s a flip property in many cases driving up the cost of living for everyday Torontonians. So before our very special landmark village is raped into the condo jungle that our crap government is allowing, I’ve got more sexy hot spots you gotta check out before, heaven forbid, they become Shoppers Drug Marts.

The Drink!!! Sexy sassy and full of local hotties. Grab a coffee by day and club it out with great cocktails by night.

I went on Halloween with some buddies of mine thanks to a cute fellow down at the door inviting guests in. I think the real highlight of this cute coffee house/cocktail lounge is its great view of the village street below where all the gouls were out in full force this hollows eve.
It seems this local trend of mixing coffee house and pub seems to be a crowd pleaser. I know I love it! Of course there is alway so much more to tell but alas, I’ll have to save it for another blog. After the long night that was Halloween it was most appropriate to vanish to the north lands to relax at my buddy’s cottage. Made for a perfect Halloween detox. By the way this property is available for summer and fall renting so if you’re looking for a fabulous escape from you’re crazy busy life get in touch with me at and I’ll point you in the right direction!

The Drink 4 kisses out of 5. (Keeping the gay village alive)

Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week…. This hot bearded bro has got a nice big one! A beard of course.
Geoffrey is a Toronto local who works with costumes for small and large theatre productions in the city. He is also an entrepreneur and has his own kilt making business among other things. Look for a feature blog on this talented fellow later this month! Hey boys! I do believe this bearded bear is available!


Editor: Mary Ellen Monk

photos by Bruce Christopher and The Drink

Bears in Habitat

Posted by Bruce on October 29, 2017
Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Pubs, Restaurants / No Comments

Hey B.I.T.C readers! Wow, well Fall finally arrived in the City I think. Just in time for Halloween next week. Before I begin my little blog this week it’s been a while since I’ve had my B.I.T.C session so here are some moments to write home about.
So I was heading to The Lodge the other day, my first time checking it out. My mode of transportation in the city is either cab or TTC. This day it was the TTC. The weirdest things happen to me on the TTC. There are so many I could seriously write a separate blog just for that! I was looking all bearded and ready to hit The Lodge for the first time and I was relaxing minding my own bear business in the lower landing of the bus just below the stairs that lead to the upper level of the bus. Someone hit the bell to get off. Not unusual, however what happened next was well, asinine! A lovely voluptuous woman steps into the landing, one step away from my shoulder, again not unusual, but then proceeded to rest her ass onto my shoulder! I’m not kidding! Her bottom was so busy beautiful she seemed to have trouble keeping control of it and in standing in the landing her butt protruded out enough that it rested itself right on my shoulder blade. I was in shock. I couldn’t even speak as her bottom waited comfortably on me for it’s next stop. My god where was it going to land next??? I’ll never know.
I arrived at The Lodge not long after and I was definitely in need of a drink or tranquilizer. The Lodge is this cool little pub in the village. I’d never been but had heard a lot about it. It is above O’Grady’s another bar I like during non-Pride season. Their security during pride are always assholes so I choose not to go. So I quickly found a corner seat with a good view of the pub and it’s bears. I wanted to study these bears in their natural habitat. I wasn’t really sure whether there was a possibility of getting mauled or bitten. It was wonderfully unpretentious. The works between Twink, Jocks, Cubs and Bears can be worlds apart not unlike an episode of Degrassi High.
It’s remarkable to me how unwelcoming these neesh groups can be to each other. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns in the village. I remember when I first moved here and went to another local queer spot this very Queenly Dude actually laughed at my shoes because they weren’t designer. I was pretty soft back then and I actually sank in my seat with embarrassment. Oh, how things have change. Today I’d just B.I.T.C slap him! Verbally of course. No violence, just love. So I’m sitting there watching the bears down their beers. A very cute little cub bartender helps me decide on a beer.
I wanted to feel just like those other bears and not drink my usual wine. His name was Sam and he was very sweet. The bears played gossip chain and talked Will and Grace. Suddenly you appeared. A mature fellow with a warm and welcoming smile and offered to buy me a drink. I had received a welcome shot from the bears in the corner moments before. I felt like the bear of the ball. The music was very retro: Carpenters, Ann Murray, Joni Mitchell, Kenny Rogers. I loved it. I was literally on bear planet. I was home. It was so cozy and cute. Just like me. If you are a local bear or a bear enthusiast I highly recommend you stopping by. I recommend abstaining from feeding them unless you want them to follow you home.

5 kisses out of 5


It’s that time we all wait for…. Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week. This weeks Badass B.I.T.C Beard belongs to…


“ I don’t know if there are any important facts about me at all, but I do cut hair for a living and I’m a karaoke rockstar.. but other than that I’m pretty average. Oh and I’m covered in hair from head to toe if that’s notable and relevant. LOL. All of my childhood and early 20’s I spent nearly 100 pounds overweight so even though I’m nearly 50, I still don’t necessarily see what others see. My partner is amazing, believe me I’m the lucky one. He’s a doll and one of the kindest, and thank God for my sake, one of the most understanding people ever!”

Awe!!! This dude sounds incredible right? Humble! Stunning! Taken!! Damn, eh beards? Rick you’re now entered in the year end contest! Stay cool and keep reading Bruce in the City!


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

The Jazz Hot

Posted by Bruce on October 15, 2017
Announcements, Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Local Talent, Pubs / No Comments

There’s never any excuse not to check out a hot jazz ensemble. That’s why when I was visiting my family in Peterborough this week for some serious R and R I had to stop into this swag little place that’s infamous for its great live jazz music. The place is called The Black Horse. When I walked in I was a little taken back. I expected what I would normally see in Toronto, people dressed to the nines. Clean shaven men tapping their toes and ladies all a glow with the latest drink trend enjoying some Jazz before the reality of high rise office life found them in the morning. When I entered The Black Horse I was like, “I’m home”. The bar was lined with beards best in show. The guys looked like they easily new every song from Led Zepplin or Metallica and the ladies… there was one. Not including the wicked vocalist performing on the stage to my left. I was torn, do I gaze euphorically at the beard buffet to my right or do I sip my Corona, mind my own business, and fall under the spell of Ms. Marsala Lukianchuk? Being a man of notable ability I quite easily decided on both. Marsala was swag personified. Her chops were undeniable scatting out some of the best vocals I’ve heard in a while. Her audience of sexy bearded fellows were captivated by her and for the first time ever in a pub I can honestly say I don’t think the boys were there for the beer. Even the incredible trumpet player was sporting a badass beard (Cleber Cardoso Bittencourt) Those bears were cubs that night and Marsala was the jazz hot! To my shock a few of the fellows actually got up as she graciously shared the stage with other local talent including a wicked base player. She did a duet with a male vocalist and knocked everybody’s work socks off and even that one lady patron got up and sang Blues Skies. Marsala Lukianchuk was really incredible. Rob Phillips is the bands keyboard and musical director. He has performed in several locally successful ensembles. Marsala  has also done a tonne of work and there are many great clips of her on YouTube. I can’t wait to catch her with Rob Phillips the next time I’m in town.

The pubs get 3 kisses out of 5

Marsala and ensemble 4 kisses out of 5


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

As promised Badass B.I.T.C  Beard of the Week is…..

This weeks hot beard belongs to Matt! His girlfriend submitted his pic to and when asked why she submitted his stunning beard pic she simply said

“Other than the fact that he’s incredibly yummy?! Lol, He’s lived with his beard longer than he’s lived without it. He has had it for more than half his life.”

He is certainly yummy!

I think that justifies Matt being Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week! Congrats Matt you have been added to the year end draw!


Gay and Glad

There it was like a beacon of hope for countless gay people who just wanted to fit in, feel safe, and learn more about themselves. The year was 1970, one year before this big old bear poked his head out of his mother’s purse. Glad Day Book Shop was creating a place of refuge in a heterosexually dominated literary world by blasting a path for brilliant LGBT writers to sell their works. But even more than this, allow for incredibly important community awareness and legitimacy to a group of people who were fighting everyday for a voice and a culture to call their own. Glad Day Books is now considered the oldest bookstore of it’s kind in the world. I remember it fondly as a young person when I used to zip into Toronto on the Go train with my best buddy Brenda. There were two streets we were sure to walk, Queen Street West and Yonge Street. Queen Street for reasons of its own which I’d be happy to get into another time. Yonge however was that never ending street of dreams. For me it was almost 20 years from their monumental open to when I excitedly window shopped then investigated the aisles after that long flight of stairs upward to self expression and sexual liberation. My girlfriend was two doors down at the incense shop unaware of my need for such an outlet. It would be many years later that I would finally come out to her. And by girlfriend I mean “Hey girlfriend” even though we did date early on in Grade 7. Wow, I was so bi! How rebellious. Well today’s Glad Day Books has liberated itself from the old up top shop to a hot new trendy cafe, pub bookshop in the heart of the village just south of Church and Welsley. It’s been reopened in the new space for almost a year and the fun they’re having over there? Forget about it! It’s incredible. From fabulous drag shows with the very talented Uma Gahd, to influential author events. One that will be taking place in November and I’ll be certain to cover that for sure! I was there with a new friend of mine whom I met on one of those free apps for bears over 35 and we spent the afternoon enjoying the disco grooves of The 70’s as we sipped our beverages. I actually had a really lovely mascoto which I’ll have to get the name of for you. Lots of local drinks to be had which I love. Support local!!! Another little bit of trivia for you, did you know Glad Day is owned by 35 different people who all pulled together giving of their time, talents, and dollars to keep this important landmark of the city and the gay community right where it should be, supporting a whole new generation of Queens and their dreams? I’m certain there will be many new tales to be told from the trendiest coffee cocktail book shop I’ve ever stepped foot in. Bravo to one more year of books and booze! OMG I smell Bookclub! Clearly I can’t say enough about this place. It’s fun! It’s wild! It’s packed! But in today’s world when many LGBT people continue to suffer around the globe it’s also more than ever, relevant.

5 kisses out of 5


Drum roll please!!!!

As promised our first official Beard of the Week! Playwright Steven Jackson! Check out his Badass B.I.T.C beard and also my review of his play “The Seat Next to the King” a few blog postings back! Congrats Steven! Our first official Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week! Hey Brucesters submit your beard selfie to and any relevant info you would like our readers to know about you and who knows maybe You will be chosen as Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week!

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Fabulous Festivals

Posted by Bruce on July 09, 2017
Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Local Talent, Restaurants / No Comments

Toronto is awesome but even more so in the summer. When festival season gets underway the city wakes up to some of the greatest public gatherings the world has to offer. Of course, I enjoy Pride but this year decided to boycott the Parade. I believe everyone who struggles as a LGBTQ person has the right to march in that parade and no political group or movement has the right to block any supporter of the community. Everyone has the right to build a bridge but never to topple one down. It’s unforgivable in my opinion. I did however attend one of the coolest parties on the strip and that is the underwear fashion show at Cafe California. Every year for the last several years they played host to The Bay men’s garments, but this year JJMelon was the company and let me tell you sexy trendy garment fashion briefs. Their models were sizzling and the host Drag Queen Sofonda Cox was a lot of fun and did a great job filling the heels of the late great Chris Edwards who died suddenly while performing in a show Sept 2016.
If you are ever around for Pride it is worth checking out Cafe California on Church to see this really fun and sassy fashion show.
There are so many more great festivals going on all the time throughout the summer. I’ll be checking out The Taste if the Danforth in a few short weeks. It’s a delectable party of incredible flavours celebrating the culture of Greece.
I’ll be blogging about that soon enough so check back every Sunday for more great happenings in my fare city.
Just a quick note to you all if you are a business in the Toronto area and would like to be featured on my blog send me an email or leave me a voicemail with your business info and I’d be happy to stop by for a Bruce in the City visit!

Hope to hear from you soon! I’m gearing up for the fall season and I’d love to feature you!

Bruce in the City


Mary Ellen Monk

Caesars at The Opera House

Posted by Bruce on June 11, 2017
Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Local Talent, Pubs / No Comments

Wow! What a month it has been! From my ridiculous crush to the rubbing of shoulders with people truly deserving of my affection! I have to admit, having a chance to chat with different artists, be them songwriters, actors or those who grace the theater, I can’t begin to tell you how inspired I find myself after I have been in their presence. It is not easy being out there giving the world something so personal like your own talents. I was pondering this as I sat at a hip and iconic pub called The Opera House. Of course it shares its name with one of the most iconic concert venues in the city. Built in a time when live performance and music worship were at an all time high. The Opera House is one of the city’s most historic performing venues, opening in 1909. It has also been a cinema and a live theatre venue. I sat pondering the great acts that must have graced that stage and stories it could tell if those walls could speak. I ordered myself a Caesar and a club sandwich seemed to be a good idea too. The pub was filled with patrons dressed in their stylish yet bohemian threads. A vibe of yesteryear with the speed of the day. My Caesar was great; garnished to the nines and the perfect balance of spice. It was at that moment I decided that it was the Caesars of Caesars in Toronto!!! I’d been looking for the best Caesar in the city and just when I wasn’t even thinking about it, there it was in all its garnished glory. The sun was shining but it was still a little cool on that Opera House patio but the Caesars were sizzling!

Home Page


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Catch Ya Later

I have been working at my shop for just about three years now and have been loving it and all the people I hired. We’ve had the best time but just like every good thing, like the seasons, it is all about to change. My travel to work daily is just over an hour but still difficult to make decisions to move because I’ve made some wonderful acquaintances and friends. I was just north of Lawrence Ave and the community there is amazing. The people in this neighborhood have such a wonderfully friendly, small town hospitality. I know we will both miss each other.

I was even invited to some local get togethers during my time at the shop which were so lovely. I won’t ever forget them. My team was so great too. I hired all of them. They were awesome if I do say so myself and I hope they continue to be their fabulous selves.

I loved the area too. I frequented many shops during my stay. I wrote about a few of them. The Abbott was one of my favourite watering holes. The ladies there were so wonderful. They do make some fabulous Caesars that is for sure! The head bartender is pretty cool too and has an Elvis/Blue Rodeo look about him and he’s funny.

Oh, and Bobbette & Belle! They had the best treats. Did I write about them? I’ve written about so many places I can’t keep track. I really liked the one manager that unfortunately left. She was very outgoing but I don’t think she was very happy. Retail places have a mad record of being able to hold onto good people. Of course I’m only guessing but I’m usually correct about these things. I’ve been around and back baby!

Don’t even get me started on Yonge Street Sushi! Super slow service but their sushi is fabulous. I went there way too many times. I will miss their terrible service and their great sushi! Okay, maybe they weren’t that bad but ya they were not great at customer service. But let’s keep our eyes on the sushi shall we!?

I have to give a shout out to a few other places that knocked my sox off while working in the neighborhood. The Sushi Bar, Aroma Espresso Bar, McCoy Burger (from my home town of Oshawa), The Friendly Butcher (Cute guys slapping meat on a patio grill? Hello!), Salt Cave, Patisserie Sebastian, Pistachio, Valentina’s Body Bakery!! All fabulous places to try out when in the Lawrence Village!!

Do you remember growing up with your local corner store? Well the family that runs the corner store just up the street from my shop are so great. I mean they never gave me a break on a nickel but who can blame them. Money makes the world go around. They did give me some flowers once. That was very sweet. Toronto is such a cold ass city! It’s so nice to make a friend or two along the way. Okay “friend” might be pushing it, but at the very least politeness does go a long way in this burnt toast town.

My clients were the best, which truly makes it so difficult to go. Everyone, for the most part, was just as sweet as anything. It’s truly not easy to go. But you know when your customers are closer to you than your own friends are, it’s important to make some healthy work life balance decisions.

Plus, I’m super excited to get to meet all the new people and the store itself is busier, and you all know how I need to keep myself busy. A good business move I think. Personal happiness and some healthy challenges? It’s a good thing. With being closer to home too I’ll be able to get out to more fabulous places to write about.

Well everyone I knew, and even some that relationships will continue, it was amazing serving you these past several years. I’ll miss you guys and hope we bump into each other again.


Editor Mary Ellen Monk

Thoughts from the Editor: Good luck on your new adventure! Are you close enough now to walk to work? I know you are on the weight loss journey, just like the rest of us, so wondered if extra walking to work might help. I walk 4-5 kms every day on my lunch hour. It’s the only free time I get away from my boys because they are in school, so I take advantage of it.

Love you!


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