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Unique/Gorgeous Wedding Venues in Toronto & Area?

Hi everyone,

My fiance and I have just started planning our wedding. We are lookiing for some specific venues. We both agree no typical banquet hall and are looking for sometihng quite different. We would like something on the water or something very different that most people haven't gone to. For example, we have looked in to the Paletta Mansion in Burlington but it only holds 85 guests for a sit down dinner, we are expecting about 150. We also like Palais Royale, but we aren't sure how the the food will be. Other venues we have in mind are One King West, the Berkley Church and The Carlu. Does anyone have any insight on weddings at Canoe? We are basically looking for GREAT top notch food and a place that willl WOW guests. If anyone has any suggestion at all, please send them over this way! Thank you

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  1. How about 'Eagles Nest Golf Club' north of the city?! Great food ( especially when comparing to venues like Eglington Grand or Palais Royale whose food, I can only describe as mediocre to lousy!! ). Restaurant of EN overlooking artificial lake/pond with live swans!! Gorgeous sun set views!
    Congradulations and Good Luck!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Thanks for the Suggestion but we already have a friend and a family friend on his side who has had their wedding there! But gorgeous nontheless!!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Congrats :)
        I attended a wedding at the Palais last summer and I can say that, while "typical" (beef tenderloin or chicken - bride and groom weren't foodies but were very concerned with quality quality quality), the food was absolutely TOP SHELF. Fabulous venue, and she was just telling me recently (I'm planning for my own wedding at toronto botanical gardens) that she was really wowed by the service, attention to detail and how easy they were to work with. One of the best weddings I've ever been to!

      2. Why not contact Mark McEwan and see what he has to suggest. He probably knows all the great locations.

        1. Congratulations!

          Mr. Vuitton and I had our reception at the AGO, with about 170 people. This was pre renovation, but the food was excellent, the service seamless, and the room/venue fabulous! Their event planner helped us immensely. We found it no more expensive than a Toronto hotel ball room. Our guests still talk about our wedding :)

          The other suggestion I have is the ROM. Friends of ours had their reception there. It was also quite lovely, but also pre renovations. I am not a fan of C5, so I am not sure what to say about the food prospects.

          I was at a winter wedding at Hart House a few years ago -- also beautifully done with great food.

          In any event, I think those venues are worth checking out.

          1. Monica, two of the nicest weddings I've been to in Toronto were held at Graydon Hall Manor http://www.graydonhall.com/weddings.html

            And at The Miller Lash House...http://www.millerlashhouse.ca/outdoor...

            Graydon Hall
            185 Graydon Hall Dr, Toronto, ON M3A, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: canuckx

              I agree Graydon hall was a beautiful location and food was pretty good

              1. re: Wil

                Seconding Graydon Hall. My sister had her wedding there this past May and it was fantastic. The setting itself is gorgeous, even minus decorations and flowers, and perfect for photos -- both interior (all the rooms have different wallpapers) and exterior (except that you can see the tennis court). The terrace can seat 150 with a bit of a squeeze and they can put up a clear-roof tent with walls which open up, sheers, and chandeliers which light up. Plus, they can do 180 in the ballroom. At night, it is really lovely with the fountain.

                The food isn't GREAT, but it is good, especially for wedding food. I had a fish entree and it was perfectly cooked and moist. The sides for all the entrees were different. (Advice: do not order beef, FYI, as it can come out overcooked, especially for guests). The hors d'oevures were delicious and well-executed and the lunch buffet was roundly praised.

                The service is also good. The co-ordinator was tremendously professional, calm (important on the day), accommodating, and helpful. The waitstaff were all polite and professional and one was particularly observant and assembled lunch plates for them when they were too busy to eat and ferried water and snacks up to the bridal suite without anyone needing to ask her.

                Also, our guests were pretty impressed. They really liked the food, the setting, and the service and only a few found the food to be ok.

                Graydon Hall
                185 Graydon Hall Dr, Toronto, ON M3A, CA

                1. re: Wil

                  I went to a nice wedding at Graydon Hall - the food was okay, the venue was nice. It was in winter so I do not remember much about the grounds. Overall though it was not the most memorable or interesting wedding venue I have been to.

                  Graydon Hall
                  185 Graydon Hall Dr, Toronto, ON M3A, CA

              2. If you're interested in Burlington, you might consider Spencer's:

                They will accommodate your size, the view of the lake is amazing, and the food ought to be good... (I've always enjoyed it at the restaurant but have no experience with private events).

                1. These were also the criteria for our wedding reception, so I can certainly sympathize! We looked at some of these places, and have piles of spreadsheets describing food, setups, prices, etc. Keep in mind that the venues you've mentioned cover a wide range from ~$80 to $200+ per person depending on your choice of catering. Also, some places (1KW, Berkeley, Canoe, etc) have in-house chefs, while others (i.e. Carlu) have a list of allowed caterers instead. Before choosing a venue, we worked with several caterers. Our favourite was Ginger Island - the owner was incredibly creative and really helped us explore options beyond the standard banquet food. We also found the caterer to be our best resource regarding the pros and cons of various venues.

                  We had our reception at One King West. The space is absolutely stunning, requires minimal decoration, and the staff do a great job. At the time, they were just ramping up their wedding business, so we got an incredible deal, with a lot of input into a custom "family style" tasting menu (served in platters rather than individually plated). Now that their wedding business is booming, it will be harder to negotiate, but you can still opt out of the standard banquet food for a price.

                  Don't be fooled by the chicken and steak corporate banquet menus on their site. This is what we put together:
                  First Course: Lamb masala roll, Sesame summer roll, Roast suckling pig with hoisin sauce
                  Intermezzo: Green apple sorbet
                  Second Course: Grilled naan, Toasted cashew and apricot stuffed free range chicken with Niagara ice wine beurre noissette sauce, Garlic ginger crusted salmon with sake reduction and deep fried scallions, Butternut squash fried rice
                  Third Course: Grilled baby spring lamb chops with Organic black berry glace de viande, Stir fry vegetable medley, Braised e-fu noodles with shiitake mushrooms
                  Vegetarian Entree Option: Eggplant parmesan

                  While 1KW is opulent, I think Berkley Church is more charming and less intimidating. The food isn't as good, but it makes for beautiful pictures. It looks much better at night than during the day. We found the Carlu's pricing to be more than a little exaggerated - a similar menu to what we got at 1KW was $100 a head more! Some other options you might like venue-wise: Royal Botanical Gardens, Distillery District, ROM/C5, Rose Hill - if you're feeling quirky, you could check out the Bata Shoe Museum or Science Centre. Try visiting Daniel et Daniel or L'eat catering's websites to see their venue lists.

                  The moral of this rather long story is that if you like food, it's worth taking the time to work with caterers/chefs until you find dishes you're happy with. We told each that we wanted a menu based on "Canadian" dishes, with a few Chinese and Indian elements to keep elderly relatives from giving us the evil eye. We gave them some suggestions for what we wanted (i.e. fruit and nut stuffed chicken, something reminiscent of a suckling pig), and had them come up with an actual dish. All the people we talked to were really excited to show off their skills on a menu that didn't involve any culture's standard banquet.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Underdog Rally

                    Thank you for that detailed answer!! 1kw is definetly my number one and you convinced me even more! I am going to go look at it asap! how many guests did you have at your wedding?

                    1. re: monica17

                      We had 160 guests. The number of tables you can fit will depend on whether or not you want a dance floor. In our case, we would have maxed at 18 tables with the size of dance floor we chose.

                      Some other important details:
                      - Since many of their events are corporate, they have contracts with a variety of suppliers. These suppliers can be expensive, so they're lenient when it comes to weddings. Don't be afraid to ask what is and isn't provided, and what you're allowed to source from outside.
                      - You're going to need really good speakers.

                      Say hi for me! If you mention some items from our menu, they'll remember who I am :). Our anniversary is next week, so we'll probably drop by for lunch.

                      1. re: Underdog Rally

                        THANK YOU!!! you were a great help. We are calling 1KW tomorrow! hopefully they will be able to accomodate us on our desired date!!! I'll definetly let tell you how it goes. Thanks so much again! :)

                        1. re: Underdog Rally

                          P.S. UNDERDOG RALLY....

                          how was it for room??? was it tight? i was looking at the dance floor area and it looks like it may be a little small to fit head table and the band/dj at either end and having enough room for dancing.

                          1. re: monica17

                            We didn't have any problems with space, but we also didn't use a head table (just a little table for the two of us). We had the dance floor in the middle of the room with 8 tables on either side. Our DJ was on the bar side of the dance floor, and our sweetheart table was on the kitchen side. We set up our dessert buffet in the NW corner.

                            We were pretty detailed with our designs/spreadsheets, and had a dance floor large enough that ~50 people were able to dance to thriller at once. You should make some estimates of how many people you reasonably expect to be dancing at once (we're pretty nerdy, so we calculated "dance floor utilization rates"), and then base your dance floor size off of that.

                            Had we done a head table, it would have bordered the same side as our sweetheart table. Our bridal party, including parents, was only 10 people, though. If you have a lot of bridesmaids/groomsman, you'll have to leave extra room. I think the bigger challenge will be locating the band.

                            My suggestion would be to talk to the 1KW rep managing your account. They'll suggest floor plans. There's a lot of space, but it's not always obvious how to use it because it's usually set up for corporate events/conferences/lounging.

                      2. re: Underdog Rally

                        Underdog, do you mind sharing how much it ended up costing you per head at 1kw.

                      3. canoe can accomodate 110 comfortably .... i looked ... too bad i had 160 .... we ended up @ the national ballet school in the atrium .... it was wicked ... we used en ville who were terrific and great to work with .... it cleans up very well .... with all the lights off and just the donor wall on and some accent lighting on the columns its a very elegant modern space

                        1. We went to one last year at Casa Loma which needless to say was amazing!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Wil

                            Every time I've been to Casa Loma for an event it was meh.

                            1. re: MeMeMe

                              Me too. Great space (aside from no A/C in August) but everything else has just been ok.

                          2. Does the Elmwood Club still have an event space or have they taken that over for the spa? Been to a couple weddings/receptions there a few years ago and it was quite nice, but that was before the major do-over they did in 2002.

                            1. Congrats,
                              My fiancee and I are getting married next year, and had similar criteria and guest count. We just booked at the St, Lawrence Hall at Jarvis & King. Look it up on www.eventsource.ca for a tour around the main room, pictures of the rest of the space are on the St. Lawrence website. It's a really nice old building, original town hall. The rental fee is reasonable considering it includes the tables & chairs, which are ornate so no chair covers=less $$ spent. The hall holds 150 with a dance floor.
                              Some of the other pros are:
                              -no landmark fee, unique for a character space like this
                              - any caterer you want, no preferred list at all
                              -yours is the only event in the space
                              -you are able to get a liquor permit and do your own bar, saves $$ big time
                              -Tony the manager for the facility is incredibly helpful
                              -really beautiful space, with a great historical feel

                              Under Cons:
                              only full payment will hold your date, fee + deposit + socan fee + taxes, but the will hold a date for you for a few weeks while you think it over

                              I know it sounds like I work there, I don't. Was just really impressed with them so far.

                              Hope that helps

                              1. I went to a wedding at Canoe and it was really nice. Great food and nice atmosphere. I have been to events at the Carlu - it's a lovely space as well with a couple of gorgeous rooms. I had my wedding at Jamie Kennedy at the Gardner and that was out of this world (of course I am biased). Cocktails on that beautiful patio were a highlight. I have also seen events being set up at the Wychwood Barns near St. Clair and Christie - if you're looking for an unusual location this would be it (I think they would do weddings). It's a very beautiful complex and the outside space is lovely -- it's urban and funky and there's lots of activity around. There's a kitchen I would assume a caterer could use.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                  I recently shot a wedding at Graydon Hall. The grounds are impressive.

                                  Graydon Hall
                                  185 Graydon Hall Dr, Toronto, ON M3A, CA

                                  1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                    Can I ask what type of service you had at the Gardiner (i.e. cocktail, plated dinner, stations)? We've booked for next year, and have enjoyed Gilead and JKWB in the past, but don't have any experience with their catering outfit. Thanks!

                                    1. re: klf

                                      We had very good service - we booked stations and pass arounds and a bar. There were of course tables people could sit at. Everyone loved the stations. They did a great job - they got a couple of things wrong but we were appropriately credited on our bill and there was plenty of food to go round.

                                    2. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                      Arcadiaseeker dear, seems like you had the wedding that I'm planning for my nuptials next year!!! I'm planning on having a cocktail reception (maybe a food station or two) and I kinda like Jamie Kennedy (just from looking at the pictures on the website). What kind of setting did you have? I was thinking seating for approximately 70% of my 200 guests with sofas, cruising tables and high chairs, etc. I would love to know how it worked out for you. Oh, and should I expect crazy prices (crazy for me is anything over $150 per person).

                                      Jamie Kennedy
                                      9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA

                                      1. re: hmm hmm delicious

                                        We LOVED having our wedding there. I don't think we paid much more than that per person - but I can't remember since it was a few years ago. You can definitely work with the menu to tailor it to your costs - stations and pass arounds really helped keep our costs down. I didn't miss having a sit down dinner at all. And everyone was excited about the JK menu. Does your price include booze? We had beer, wine, and a signature cocktail (gin and tonics). I don't know what the prices would be now. Just give them your budget and ask them to help make it happen.

                                        1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                          Sounds excellent. I was hoping that it would include everything (food, decor if needed, and alcohol). I have been in touch with them and will wait to hear back! Thanks for your help.

                                    3. I would recommend you contact the Estates of Sunnybrook (Bayview and Eglinton area). We had our wedding reception there 12 years ago (!) at Vaughan Estate (the larger of the two properties) and the food was amazing.

                                      1. Canoe is fab for food. But how about some places in the Distillery, like the Boiler House. Also downtown you could try Steam Whistle Brewery, C5 Restaurant at the ROM, Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner Museum....the list is endless. All of the above have preferred caterers that are incredible and the food will NOT disappoint.

                                        Good luck!

                                        Jamie Kennedy
                                        9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA

                                        Boiler House
                                        55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A3C4, CA

                                        1. I had my wedding reception at the then newly-built Civic Garden Centre at Edwards Gardens (now called Toronto Botanical Garden) 31 years ago. The grounds are perfect for wedding photos and the building is unique. Plus, it was just around the corner from my house :-) Back then, we could use the caterer of our own choosing, not sure if this is still the case.

                                          1. My sister recently had her wedding at the Gardiner and it was wonderful. There were about 100 guests, though the space certainly could have held more. The ceremony, cocktail reception, seated dinner and dance afterwards were all first class. The meal was incredible and I know she found everyone involved to be easy to work with. We were all WOWED!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Countygal

                                              This sounds very interesting. Do you know if the food was provided by the Gardiner or did she get an outside caterer?

                                              1. re: hmm hmm delicious

                                                The food was provided by the Gardiner and it was wonderful. There wear 4/5 choices of passed hors d'oeuvres then a seated dinner- a beef main and a fish main- both incredible with lovely sides. The dessert was a fab choc. sundae concoction. I can't find the menu card so I'm sketchy on details, but it was the best wedding i have ever been to.

                                            2. 1) Grandon Hall
                                              2) Liberty Grand
                                              3) Paramount
                                              4) Embassy Grand
                                              5) Estates of Sunnybrook

                                              My friend just got married and got a videographer ... on their site where they show their work, they also write the venues, make-up, hair, photographers, church, etc. I think it's probably the best way to check out if you like the venue or not by watching some of those videos

                                              I think the site was http://www.vimeo.com/norrisfilms/

                                              1. Depending on your month - the newest venue in town had its 'grand opening' this weekend. The Brickworks. It's quite the event space - covered yet outdoors. Nature behind you, industrial beside you. I'm sure it will be a work in progress but the possibilities would be amazing.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MeMeMe

                                                  and dumbdumbs to deal with.
                                                  and its always a dirty mess.

                                                  i really want to agree with you, but I'd strongly encourage someone to NOT book an event at the Brickworks. trust me.

                                                2. I highly recommend the Capitol Event Theatre! We had very similar criteria to yours. Food was VERY important, and we definitely didn't want a carpeted banquet hall.
                                                  You can read my review here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5389...

                                                  1. We got married at Spadina House (beside Castle Loma).
                                                    If you want a) an outdoor wedding, b) to bring your own caterer/food, then its an awesome place.

                                                    Upside: very nice property with a beautiful background mansion, nice garden in the back, large open space for a wedding.
                                                    Downside: house doesn't have AC (I don't think they put it in after the reno), they limit the size of weddings (so anything over 130 is a no-no), you cannot have sit-down formal dinners due to arrangement with neighbours (very strange) and you can't go too late into the night. oh, and you have to deal with the City of Toronto, which is strange at times.

                                                    Our wedding ended up being beautiful. and you don't need to spend $$ on a lot of flowers due to the greenery around you.

                                                    For an indoor venue: Royal Conservatory of Music. its beautiful.

                                                    1. I've seen a lot of events happening at the Wychwood Barns - a couple of weddings included. I love the space and the area. A drawback might be the kiddie park at the back which can be noisy - me, I actually think that adds to the charm. If I were getting married again I would definitely look into this space.