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Mar 26, 2008 05:39 PM

Great Event Venue - with great outdoors & great food?

I've seen several discussions in the past on this site around wedding venues. I'm hoping we can get a fresh one started because I'm stuck. We were just told by the venue we booked last summer that they could not longer accommodate our wedding date this year due to the shift of a renovation schedule. So, now I'm back to zero and really would like to get married this year. (Am considering Fridays)

Looking for:
* outdoor ceremony possibility--on site or nearby (lots of trees and space)
* great food--not super fancy, but still a "wow"
* great vegetarian option - I'm a veggie, the fiance is Mr. Meat
* great view
* North of city is ideal. (we're near Canada's Wonderland) east or west fine.
* Number of people 80-100
* Budget-on the tight side
* Would be nice if it was on the unusual side

Any suggestions for a great space with great good?

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  1. What about the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg? Can't imagine a more beautiful site!

    Sadly, I can't speak to the food. I used to go all of the time for brunch years ago and really enjoyed it. However, their website doesn't say anything about the food so maybe you can bring in a caterer?

    Is anyone else familiar with this site?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Otonabee

      You're right on Otonabee. I should have mentioned that I'm currently holding a date tentatively at McMichael (that's the only place I'm holding) but I'm struggling since they have some regulations (No BBQs & a late start--nothing can be set-up until 5:00 p.m) as well as some "extra fees" of which we have just become aware....

      You have to bring in a caterer--basically you have to bring everything but the tables, chairs & the dirt. So, you're paying to bring in everything through their preferred caterer (who is not cheap--Does anyone had any experience with "Gourmet Cuisine"?) OR you're paying 20% "landmark fee" on top of all of your food, staff, rentals, and facility charges if you bring in another catering company. It's phenomenal place. It's exactly what we would want, but it puts a 100 person wedding realistically between $20,000-$25,000 total when we were looking at $15,000 as our budget. McMichael is about $5K too much and I can't figure out any ways to cut back further. I'm so disappointed.
      Any other suggestions that are like a slightly scaled back McMichael? Of just as lovely, but not as costly? (Any hidden gems out there with either a terrific kitchen or some flexibility on caterers?)

      Thanks so much for your input.

      1. re: AmandaMuffin

        No idea if this would work but worth a call? Though I haven't been in years, I remember the grounds being very pretty...

        1. re: AmandaMuffin

          Jugding from your description it isn't a huge surprise that you were already looking there! Its a shame, their restau used to be pretty good.

          Couple other options:
          Eaton Hall (part of Seneca College in King Township) -

          Or even the Kortright Center. The Glass house looks incredible!! They apparently offer full catering with organic options.

          1. re: Otonabee

            eaton hall looks great, any idea if it is pricey? i only saw info for corporate functions on their website...

            1. re: auberginegal

              It really does look nice. I have't been but I recalled it from when I used to go to Seneca. On the main first page look for Private Functions next to corporate.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. If you are willing to go a bit north of the suburbs I would call "The Briars" at Lake Simcoe, the food is good and there are lots of possibilities for 'outdoor' venue type things. It's very pretty and folks could stay overnight if they wish...just a thought.

          1. I've looked extensively into both the Briars and Eaton Hall. Eaton Hall will run you about 25k for 100 ppl (100 ppl is minimum). There is some wear and tear and the bathrooms are awful, but it's a nice spot. Briars is more "retro" (like 1980's decor) and potentially served by students - just so you know. Check that out first. Food there is great though. Amazing grounds. Accommodations are so-so. Check out their "groups" on facebook for the real low-down on what goes on behind the scenes - they have lots of students working in the summer and yep...they're on facebook.

            3 Replies
            1. re: troublebunny

              Thanks Trouble Bunny. Good advice. (Facebook--hadn't thought of researching there).
              I have been to Eaton Hall for a close friend's wedding. Didn't want to "copy" her spot, so I was steering clear, but her outdoor ceremony was movie-esque. The inside was very nice, I can't remember what I ate, but I remember thinking the whole thing was super classy. I just didn't like the room separations. Dancing in one room, 1/3 of the group had dinner in another room. I like where everyone is all together. But for an intimate wedding, Eaton Hall is superb.
              I was curious about "Briars". It's worth the trip for a look?
              I was also looking out a bit further now --the Elora Mill & Millcroft? I was wondering if they were cheesy wedding factories. Any experience with the food & service at those places?

              I'm still hoping for something that "feels" like McMichael Art Gallery, without the price. (That landmark fee was really quite the surprise, and boy does full service catering add up quickly.)

              I did go to Kortright many months ago--in fact, it was the first place I checked out because I was so close, but was feeling like for $118/per person I'd like one step up. Did think the All-Canadian menu was terrific.

              Any other brilliant ideas for special yet reasonable venues? Am willing to get creative -- other galleries? Conservation areas that are surprisingly nice? (North of the city is still my preference as I don't want my poor grandmothers looking for parking in downtown Toronto..) But again, east or west is fine...50 km radius of Vaughan is perfect.

              I am grateful for your suggestions everyone.

              1. re: AmandaMuffin

                Briars is worth a look - great outdoor ceremony space...kind of window-less indoor reception space...and if it're really out of luck (ceremony would be held in a smaller conference room, and the cocktail hour would be held in a VERY small 80's style chair-less area)... anyway...if the weather is good, it is a beautiful space. Millcroft is okay - check out this link: (somebody's photos) and see what you think. My aunt's sustainable community actually supplies their chef with locally grown organic produce in the summer, so it is an ecofriendly place (and fresh). Elora mill is more pub-like in feel, but lovely - close to Guelph. I don't know about weddings there, but I've eaten there in the summer on their screened patio.

                1. re: AmandaMuffin

                  Is this place in Bowmanville suitable? http://www.willowpondbedandbreakfast....

                  I know you can bring in your own caterer, as a friend will be doing so in June.

                  I'm curious where you originally booked, as I'm surprised that they would cancel commitments made last year.

              2. The original comment has been removed