My Kind of Garden Party

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Imagine a place where exotic mystery and unbridled sexuality come together, a club where self-expression isn’t merely encouraged – it is pretty much required. This is the kind of place where the open-minded congregate for an all-out assault on the senses.

Those behind London’s most infamous fetish club, the Torture Garden, are making their first-ever visit to Montreal on their 20th anniversary tour. Founders Alan Pelling and David Wood aimed to take the fetish club to the next level. They integrated multiple diverse party environments, progressive music and extreme performance art with the alternative fashion that fetish is famous for.

Two decades later, they’ve built a reputation for staging lavish fantasy parties attended by the likes of Jean Paul Gauthier and Ditta Von Teese that make you feel like you just stepped on to a movie set, giving you the freedom to adopt a new persona and play with like-minded individuals.

They have the strictest dress code policies I’ve ever seen for any event:

“Dress the f*ck up… the more effort you put into transforming into somebody different from your day to day character the more you will get out of your TG experience. Please, always remember that if your outfit wouldn’t turn heads in the street – don’t bother to wear it to Torture Garden.”

You’ll get your first chance to command the attention of the Torture Garden’s finest at the opening night party on Friday November 25 at The Belmont (4483 St Laurent). With a “military” theme, they offer the following suggestions as inspiration:

Military, WW2, Cold War, uniforms, soldiers, military nurses/doctors, wounded soldiers, battle scars/wounds, Canadian military, American military, German military, Soviet military, Chinese military, Japanese military, North Korean latex, leather, gas masks, stars & stripes, TG logos, etc.

The main event takes place on Saturday November 26 at the Bain Mathieu (2915 Ontario Est), a converted bathhouse built in the 1930s that sounds almost too perfect for this type of event. The main room features an emptied pool as the dance floor and platform for the main stage shows, a mezzanine area surrounding it for mixing and mingling and a second room accessible through the pool featuring more eclectic music and a smaller stage for performances.

The impressive line-up of talent includes both TG founders taking their spin at the decks, as well as local and international performance artists and latex experts. If you’re looking for inspiration for an outfit, think Berlin Kabaret meets Moulin Rouge with a little circus freakshow and a bit of Victorian steampunk thrown in for good measure. For the not so faint of heart, there will be an on site dungeon play area where the most sordid aspects of the fetish scene may be explored.

All patrons must adhere to a strict code of conduct while in the club that includes no unauthorized photographers, no harassment of any kind, or non-consensual groping. ()

And if you’re not quite tortured out by Sunday, the closing night party takes place at the famed Old Port nightclub Velvet (426 St Gabriel). The theme for the closing night echoes the opening night party with a speakeasy, post-war, celebratory cabaret vibe.

Weekend passes and individual tickets are available at a number of local retailers or on the Torture Garden Montreal website.

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