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Aug 20, 2010 07:00 PM

Wedding venue - Toronto, good food, large - impossible?

Hi everyone,

After spending a few weeks reading every thread I could find on the topic and checking out lots of online resources, I've decided to ask for some help. My fiance and I are planning a wedding for, hopefully, fall 2011. We are looking for a venue that is:

1. Somewhere in Toronto proper and has a unique feel (we really would like to avoid the banquet hall/hotel ballroom feel if possible).
2. Able to have about 300 people seated at long rectangular tables (or at least not all at round tables)
3. Able to serve good food from a customizable menu or allow outside catering.

A place that looks great but is a no-go because the speakers would need to be cut at 10:30pm is the Artscape Wychwood Barns:

I'd be very grateful for your recommendations. Some spots I can find that seem to meet these criteria are below - I'd also be grateful for any thoughts you might have on any of these (I have read most of the reviews that have already been posted):

-The AGO or the ROM
-Fermenting Cellar (Distillery) (downside: will likely be very difficult/expensive to decorate
)-Berkley Church
-The Great Hall at Hart House
-Capitol Events Theatre
-Steamwhistle Brewery

Thanks everyone!

- Mark

Great Hall
1087 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

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  1. My goodness. All that research, but you missed the Round Room at The Carlu. A simply outstanding venue.

    You forgot another fun fact about Wychwood Barns. No air conditioning. In the fall that may not be such a big deal.

    ROM: Bon choix.
    Fermenting Cellar: High heels across cobblestone roads good in the beginning. Less so once the wine starts flowing.
    Berkeley Church: Not wheelchair accessible.
    Capitol Events Theatre: Not if you care about food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Googs

      The ROM and the Carlu are beautiful, and you have a choice of catering by some of TO's best caterers: Daniel et Daniel , Eatertainment, 10tation, Marigolds and Onions and L'Eat Catering . As far as I know, plates start around $250/pp.

      Here are other venues where Daniel et Daniel will cater:

      Venues where Eatertainment caters:

      L'Eat's venues:

      Marigold and Onion's venues

      10tation's venues:

      I'm not a fan of atmosphere inside the Baillie Court at the AGO. It feels like a convention centre, rather than an art gallery. The AGO also charges $250+ a plate.

      The Burroughes Building has an interesting space with large windows, on the top floor of a renovated historic building near Queen and Bathurst. Various fundraisers and art-related parties take place at the Burroughes Building. I noticed that Marigold and Onions now caters there, and I've been there for an event catered by Marben. I think pretty much any caterer could be hired to cater the Burroughes building.

      The Design Exchange might be another option.

      If I understand correctly, the Stop can cater events (can't find anything about catering offsite on their site), if you find the venue, and the venue isn't in a contract with a limited number of caterers.

    2. I had my wedding at Hart House in the Great Hall in fall 2008. For the price and the size of the venue, the food was incredible. They worked with us to create a customized seasonal menu including my husband's favourite dessert and it was all delicious and beautifully presented. Guests took pictures of the courses and people still talk about it.

      There are certainly other venues in Toronto that can offer a high-end/luxurious/food-oriented experience, but we loved Hart House for its unique charm and location (over 1/2 the guests were traveling from the U.S. and we needed something central).

      The rectangular tables are definitely the way to go in that space - linens are challenging but they have options to rent if you are particular.

      Anyway, we were very happy with the experience and would recommend it anytime.

      Great Hall
      1087 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      1. Thanks everyone! I'm very glad to hear good things about the food at HH, which has some sentimental value for us as well. And thanks, Phoenikia, for suggesting the Burroughes Building. We both love what we've seen online and will definitely be going in to check it out. (They have also confirmed that any outside caterer can be used, in case anyone is wondering). Of course, I will definitely report back with any other information we get.

        1 Reply
        1. re: markdsgraham

          Everyone seems to have had some experience with the Burroughes Building. I love the appeal of this space, its perfect! I'm wondering though what the price range is for this space? If it is WAY outside my range I'm not going to bother.... some guidance would be greatly appreciated.

        2. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. We've decided to go with Hart House and are really looking forward to it!

          Grape, we looked quite closely at the Burroughes. I think the room rental fee was about $3000. Other than that, you bring in everything you need (rentals, catering, etc) -- so you have some control over the cost but it can really add up. TJulie, who coordinates there, mentioned to us that there was a wedding planner who is hosting her own wedding there sometime soon and has been blogging about it. If you're interested, maybe try to find that blog. Good luck!

          3 Replies
          1. re: markdsgraham

            Hey markdsgraham (and academicsocialite),

            I'm looking at booking Hart House for July or September, but the main concern is the AC. They can do either fans or get a truck to pump in cool air...anyone know if either of these work well and are pleasant? I'm worried they either don't work or they are loud and annoying. For early September weddings, how was the temp? Did you use fans or anything in the space to deal with the temperature? We're 180 people, so I'm also concerned that many bodies will heat up the place.

            We really love the venue but we just don't want our guests to melt ;) Thanks for your feedback!

            1. re: dangerjno

              I had my wedding at Hart house this past August (20th)... The large industrial fans they provide were not enough, there were 140 of us and definately very warm... Another problem with the fans were we had a curtain back drop for the head table and when the fans were pointed towards us, the curtains didn't stay down. Another thing is they are huge and unsightly in photos. A bunch of our cutting cake photos were not "perfect" because there is a huge fan right behind us... July is pretty bad too I heard a couple had to move the dance floor outside (unplanned ahead of time) because the great hall was too hot. The fans are loud too, we had to turn off the stage one during speeches because we could not hear the speaker. The thing you have to remember about early september is frosh is going on and a new school year is starting up, might be quite busy around... Ask about AC, when we booked in summer of 2010 (for aug 2011 wedding) they said they were getting AC, they might have it running by next year...
              Also if you do book with them make sure you keep them on the ball - our coordinator was horrible (devon)... e.g. we booked a dessert table (and pre-paid for it) and it was not served at the wedding!
              It is a very nice venue though... another thing is they have purple lighting -we didn't even know it was there until the wedding reception, not good if your wedding colours don't go with the purple...
              Let me know if you have anymore questions...

              1. re: zinasj

                Or if your skin color doesn't go with purple lighting. That's a pretty dicey choice.

                The curtain work was sloppy. They should have either weighted or taped the bottom.

          2. From my experience last month Wychwood Barns doesn't close until 11pm. And their catering came in at at least 15% cheaper than other quotes I got. I was very happy with their in-house catering.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bgray

              How about Graydon Hall? Beautiful spot with one of the best chefs in the city(Arpi Magyar)
              oops! didn't realize how old this post was

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