Anyone attend or have a wedding at the liberty grand or berkeley church?
Hi we're looking into Toronto wedding venues and wanted to see whether any chowhounders have been or had a wedding at the governors room at the liberty grand or the berkeley church.
Primarily Interested in hearing about the number of people at wedding, the quality of food, food service, and general experience at both venues. We know that both venues are very different but want to get your take. Any help would be greatly appreciated as we live out of town.
Thanks for your help.
Earlier in the year I went to a Victoria College event at Berkeley Church. The building is pretty interesting as far as atmosphere, although I think it's a bit rough around the edges. It smacks of the whole trendy chic thing with old bricks and old wood and stuff, but I don't know if it completely succeeded... I haven't been there in the summer though... the atmosphere would be quite different I think.
As for the food, it was pretty good quality considering it was a big banquet, although I wouldn't say it was REALLY noteworthy. It was chicken with a sauce of some description, roasted potatoes and veg. I've certainly had drier chicken, but I have also had much juicier. The preceding salad though, was VERY nice. Arugula, walnuts, roasted pear, a nice nutty cheese and a fantastic sweet dressing. The dessert was rather forgettable. ...might have been a flan or something, but it was served in a ramekin and was spongey and didn't have much flavour except that it was sweet.
It was a decent experience as far as a big event goes...
Cut and paste of a poste from March:
I just got married at Berkeley Church in September '09. We had a fantastic experience. The food was very important to me and I got such a good vibe from Nathan (the chef). Basically, we met with him and our coordinator (provided by BC) and discussed what we wanted and what our ideas were. He made some suggestions and then later we had a tasting. We changed one of the hors d'oeuvres at the tasting and added a sauce for the beef.
Serving seasonal and local food is important to me and Nathan totally agrees. Consequently we went with things like pickeral, tomatoes, beets, squash, etc.
Lots of people loved our food and told us so after the event.
Here was our menu:
3 passed hors d'oeuvres (no spring rolls or chicken satays for me!):
blue cheese date on endive with candied walnuts
mini yorkshire puddings with roast beef and horse radish cream (dad's irish)
chickpea fritter with butter chicken (this is the one we added instead of a baked brie in filo and people LOVED this one).
dinner was stations, not a sitdown meal:
make your own caesar salad (so nothing got soggy and could also be veg if they didn't add bacon). Hubby loves caesar and we figured it was something most people would like
roasted beets with arugula
tomato, basil, buffalo mozzarella (nothing like tomatoes in Ontario in September)
pasta station: squash and ricotta cannelloni with bechamel (I wanted squash ravioli, but Nathan pointed out that it wouldn't sit well in a station-style dinner, so we went with a baked pasta, which lasts much better)
mains: We were supposed to have an outdoor BBQ for most of this stuff, but we had to go to plan B because it was pouring rain.
Grilled flatiron steak with chimichurri or peppercorn sauce on the side
Green curry marinated prawn and pickerel broschettes (these were a huge hit)
Rice on the side to go with the curry
baked potato station with the usual fixings
marinated, grilled seasonal veg.
make your own sundaes
FYI, I kinda grilled them about the food; for example, I made sure the bacon bits were homemade, I asked what kind of ice cream they would serve for the sundaes (Kawartha Dairy...delicious and pretty local), they made the sundae sauces, not storebought, etc.
I booked my wedding for next year at the Berkeley Church Field House at the beginning of May and actually had to back out of the contract this week. They were fantastic initially getting back to me and were excited about our cocktail reception wedding.When we had originally signed our contract we were asked to sign a credit card authorization form stating that any payments would be processed on this card, which was perfect in our eyes because we wanted a paper trail and the bonus points that came along with making purchases on this specific card. It wasn't until after we submitted the contract that they said, 'I don't know if we mentioned that our credit card terminal isn't set up,' but that they were in the process of setting up a pay pal account and would get back to us once ready or that we could pay our deposit in cash. I am pretty sure I would have remembered a huge detail like that! How can you leave that detail out?
After waiting for a month, I decided to email for an update. His response was that he had 'meant' to send me a note saying that they are no longer accepting credit cards. Great to hear that he had 'meant' to... He informed us that they would accept only cash and cheque but that they had compensation packages for those who provided credit card cheques and incurred heavy costs from their credit card companies or lost points because of credit card reward programs. I did not feel comfortable with this practice or how much confusion had already surrounded our event and the amount of effort it has taken on my part to stay or even be informed of the details as this should be their responsibility if they want my business, so we walked away.
The venue is gorgeous, the food is fantastic, there are so many pros, and we had so many friends say it was a great place from weddings and events they'd been to in years past, so this was a real shock. Unless you're willing to fork over all that money in cash, I would definitely not recommend it.
A couple of other things to think about with this venue if you do decide to go forward with it: They have preferred vendors for DJ and Flowers and there is a 15% landmark fee if you decide to opt out. They don't have their liquor license so you'll be responsible for getting your alcohol and liquor license and insurance, though they do provide the bartenders.
I actually remember a few venues going through a credit card situation for about 18 months after the recession........so many of those terminal systems use american processing companies that created surprise policies for venues telling them they have to sign a personal guaruntee! Meaning not the companies, but the owners themselves are personally liable for payments if something goes wrong!! No corporation owner could do that! Banquet hall payments are like 10 grand sometimes. Too bad for a lot of customers and the halls themselves. About 10 places we worked with in the city encountered this. Too many brides and grooms payments not clearing or causing fraud! oh well hopefully those days are behind us.
I've been to weddings at both places.
Liberty Grand has been fine but forgettable, both in terms of food and the wedding itself. It's quite a large venue; both weddings I attended had 200+ guests.
Berkeley was terrific. The building's got phenomenal character, and the food was tasty – but I ate there a year ago. Nathan Isberg (Czehoski, Coca, now The Atlantic) was cooking there at that time, and he seldom misses, IMO. But no clue who's doing food there now. Still, I'd favour it over Liberty for sure!
My sister-in-law got married at the LG last year. Approximately 200 people as I recall. From the main entrance (facing Lakeshore) the reception was in the room to the right. The service was excellent as far as I could tell (my wife was at the head table while I was not). The food was fine. It's not spectacular, but certainly not bad or inedible (which I've experienced elsewhere). The mixed seafood plate that came out was a bit rubbery, the main course was fine and there was a cold starter that was fantastic (can't remember exactly what it was). I would recommend the venue in general.
If you want food to really be memorable, then you should go elsewhere. Maybe choose a restaurant or a venue that lets you bring in your own caterer. But the LG will deliver a solid meal that lets your guests remember the great wedding.
2390 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M8V1C3, CA
We had our wedding at the Governor's Room at the LG three years ago. 325 people, the food was deeeelish and plentiful, the service was top notch. We got married in the courtyard (they are flexible depending on the weather). We can't say we had a single problem on the day or leading up to the day.
HI Me, Me, Me,
You seem to have a glowing review of the food at the LG (Govenor's Room).
Since we are going to be around 300 people, I'm concerned how the food might turnout considering the volume of guests. I realize that there a number of variables at play as far what was served etc at your wedding vs. others experiences at the LG.
In your opinion did the food match up to what you had settled upon in the tasting. I'm not sure if you went to taste with anyone else who was not a part of the wedding party to see if the general consensus matched what you had at your tasting.
May ask what you decided upon for the menu at your wedding?
We had three options - NY steak, Arctic Char and Vegan portobello mushroom/ puy lentil stack. We started with a mushroom soup, which is my fave on any menu (salad, to me, is either unwhelming or just terrible). Then the mains. They were very good. The vegetarian dish, while delicious, was not as as visually pleasing...likely because the lentils expand the longer they are in liquid. However, that was just me - but my vegan friends loved it - it was different and creative. The dessert - we alternated fruit in a sugar cup (i can't explain it better) and a chocolatey dessert - and let people choose or share. We also had a dessert table (including cheeses and port....ordered for 120 people as many leave and they always overserve anyways). We had tonnes of hors d'oevres and some crudite upstairs in the mezzanine for cocktail hour. All in all, everyone reported they loved the food - people were pleased with the options of fish, veg or meat.
My son's wedding was in the Liberty Grand's Centennial Ballroom 3 years ago which I believe is half the size of the Governors.
As far as the food goes, we had a wonderful meal and portion size is based on what you pay for and ask them to prepare. They had tastings a couple of weeks before the wedding and made adjustments and upgrades as we wanted. We had both filet beef and chicken and the beef in particular was fantastic considering it was for a large group. The food quality and portion size was definitely not an issue for us. The chef and staff there were wonderful to deal with in helping decide on a menu and were very flexible. Presentation was beautiful.
The ceremony was in the centre courtyard which was the most memorable part of all.
But, while I found the ballroom and decor beautiful, it is wide and felt that the guests were so far apart in seating.
Cannot comment on the Berkeley Church never been there.
I was the best man for a wedding at the Liberty Grand. I don't remember the food being outstanding or poor, I do remember the portions being small. At the end of dinner service I remember another guy in the wedding party say 'when does the real meal start?'
We had strip loin steaks, and a dessert containing mixed berries. I'm not sure if it comes as a package....
I haven't been to weddings at those venues but I have been to other events. The food at the Liberty Grand is not great.
Berkeley Church is better, and it's a much more interesting spot, in my opinion! A more memorable location. I've been to two events there and was happy with service both times... I can't really remember the food, to be honest, but I would definitely remember if it had been bad!