When it’s hot in the city, the shoreline beckons with a long, cool list of spaces and places within water’s reach. Summer cocktails, lake breezes and views of sun-dappled waves make for refreshing heat quenchers.
Put your event waterside at these locations:
Landmark On The Lake
Get your Gatsby on amid the magnificent Art Deco setting of the historic lakefront Palais Royale. From inside the grand ballroom’s swank interior (Capacity: 850), French doors with billowing drapes frame Lake Ontario. Through the doors, a magnificent two-tier 4,000 sq. ft. patio puts guests right on the water’s edge with a panoramic vista of the city, shoreline and boating action.
The upper verandah, accessible year-round, is ideal for indoor spillovers and drinking in the view, cocktails in hand. A favourite of wedding ceremonies, the spacious lower deck is easily configured for formal or informal occasions with dinner seating, chaise lounges and soft furnishings. A custom tent spans both levels. The patio has room for 300 reception-style, 150 seated with dancing under the stars.
A vibrant South Beach Miami culture touches down in the city with this month’s opening of INK Entertainment’s Cabana Pool Bar at the Sound Academy, set within Polson Pier’s sprawling by-the-lake entertainment complex. At 50,000 sq. ft., the pool-party playground will accommodate 2,500 and seat 850.
The stylin’ transformation includes a DJ-booth and outdoor stage to energize the atmosphere around the octagonal swimming pool and patio. Making the scene, an abundance of seductively deluxe chaise lounges, and 12 elevated private cabanas tricked out with lounge beds, foot showers, stocked refrigerators and bottle service. Seating 15, cabana curtains close for privacy. A happening lounge-dining area houses the main bar, stand-up tables and semi-private booth seating.
On The Pier
Opening this month, the Amsterdam BrewHouse Restaurant takes over the Queen’s Quay waterfront real estate formerly occupied by Pier 4 Restaurant. As a prime tourist destination, the historic storehouse gets a major makeover with spacious patios and restaurant (Total Capacity: 603 seated), working craft brewery and store.
Surrounded by water on three sides, four patios afford different harbour and island vantage points. The west and south patios are private outdoor spaces directly on the water with sit-down capacities of 100 and 40 respectively. A covered patio bar-lounge makes for a chic cocktail setting for up to 60. Inside, the waterscape is just as prominent through massive windows that tower beneath the airy 30-ft. beamed ceiling. Event space includes the main dining room (Capacity: 127) and lounge (Capacity: 100). Groups of 30 to 90 can also look to the mezzanine for privacy.
Toronto’s boating scene is chockablock with large and small marinas and yacht clubs with facilities open to outside rentals. The most distinguished is the illustrious Royal Canadian Yacht Club, a verandah-wrapped plantation-style mansion on Toronto Island’s shoreline, accessible by a private launch across Toronto Harbour. Three of the venue’s six function spaces offer water views including the grand ballroom (Capacity: 250) with its enclosed walkout.
Tent an event in the beautifully manicured rose garden and willow tree area on the water’s edge with full skyline panorama. Large events seeking more privacy but just as spectacular a vista can head across the club’s footbridge to Snug Island’s massive lawn space. Activity options include lawn bowling, croquet and sailing. At press time, RCYC’s Executive Chef Jonathan Goodyear was a top contender going into Top Chef Canada’s season three finale.
Food Network Canada’s celebrity grilling chef Rob Rainford is behind Gossip Restaurant, a stylishly sleek eatery and lounge located on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. Bumping up against the Bandshell, 85% of the lake-facing restaurant’s business is corporate events. Awash in earthy tones and natural textures, the main dining room, with a vista-worthy view through patio doors, and a separate dining space accommodate up to 240.
Outside is lovely with the landmark Shrine Peace Memorial Fountain, a smaller water sculpture, and rose garden encircling the front of the 4,000 sq. ft. patio. A BBQ party, with grill king Rainford working the sizzle of course, is one way to enjoy the lake and Ontario Place scenery. Fourteen curtained cabanas, each seating 15, and comfy chaise furnishings are easily arranged to accommodate groups of up to 400.
Fine white sand and pretty in pink umbrellas mark Canada’s Sugar Beach at the foot of Lower Jarvis Street, adjacent the Redpath Sugar Factory and Corus Quay. Overlooking Toronto Islands, the urban beach is a unique waterfront location for events and festivals via special permit through the City of Toronto. Preference is currently given to non-profits and charities.
Design awards continue to rack up for the two-acre space which features 36 permanent umbrellas,150 Muskoka chairs and an interactive water fountain embedded in a granite maple leaf. Plan group play on the beach or host an event that encompasses the tree-lined promenade and adjoining plaza. Raised grassy areas and a candy-striped rock outcrop provide natural seating for event viewing.
Make the cityscape your event backdrop while entertaining on the water. Epic Cruises offers the River Gambler, a fabulous floating venue option for daylight and moonlight event hosting. Dressed in nautical blue and white, and shining from a 2012 renovation, the two-storey steamboat-style cruiser is a distinctive vessel as it navigates the waterways.
Event packages are customizable to theme, purpose and length of use, whether it be meetings and presentations in the enclosed lower-level cabin followed by drinks above deck, private events or social parties. The roomy cabin seats up to 160 with full bar and dining amenities. The upper level cum open-deck dance floor and bar holds up to 80.
A By-the-Water Gem
Nestled on the shoreline where the mouth of the Credit River and Lake Ontario meet, the Waterside Inn is surrounded by the quaint charm of Mississauga’s Port Credit. Perched right on the harbour, the 15-storey boutique hotel offers a resort-like ambiance with rooms and function space overlooking the water and boardwalk.
Put VIP meetings for up to 10 on the top floor for stunning lake views in any one of the hotel’s four luxury penthouses. Two ground-floor patios put your group on the waterfront including a walk-out from the ballroom seating 450 theatre-style and divisible by three. The Breakwater, the hotel’s restaurant overlooking Port Credit Yacht Club, is available for buy out for groups of up to 90.