Come summer, there’s nothing more gratifying to Torontonians than to receive an event invitation that promises to put them on, or even in, the water. Let’s face it … the season is short!
Here are a few venues, ideas and activities to help your event make a warm-weather splash:
Put It Poolside
Make Event Waves: This summer, Muzik Nightclub unveils Muzik Pool Bar, a complete revamp of its almost 100,000-sq.-ft. patio that puts entertaining on deck, lounging in cabanas and water fun on event agendas. Lush tropical greenery graces the outdoor playground, with three infinity pools surrounded by wooden cabanas and loungers. Each pool area is serviced by a dedicated bar, restrooms and change rooms.
Water-perfect pitch: Think pool picnics and BBQ, water volleyball and water polo. Add floating décor and mermaid models for eye-candy water features.
Add on: Patio areas are tentable, but there is always the option to make it an inside-outside affair, calling on Muzik’s opulent interior spaces for ample mingle room and a weather plan B.
Make Event Waves: Since last summer’s opening of Cabana Pool Bar, nightlife innovator Charles Khabouth has been fielding requests to recreate his day-into-night pool-by-the lake party scene in many a far-flung destination. Ultra white chaise chairs and billowing draped cabanas surround the octagonal saltwater pool. A spacious lounge-dining area and ample bars invite further socializing.
Water-perfect pitch: Oliver & Bonacini handles onsite catering with inventive sharing platters and BBQ. New this year, a raised poolside boardwalk and bar, plus a second-level area with two small heated pools.
Add on: The setting is perfect for channeling Esther Williamesque-era glamour with gracefully athletic synchronized swimming productions by the sultry bathing beauties of Aqualillies.
Float a Retreat
Make Event Waves: With a permanent summer dock in Harbourfront’s Marina Quay West at the foot of Spadina, Making Waves Boatel is Toronto’s only floating bed and breakfast. The three-level custom trawler houses three guest rooms and full amenities that are also conducive to VIP entertaining and business meetings for up to six people.
Water-perfect pitch: Host meetings in the Sunroom, where a lovely nautical teak table is boardroom-perfect. Wireless Internet makes business connectivity easy. Take cocktails on the top-level Skylounge for full viewing appreciation of the Toronto islands and waterfront.
Add on: If physical activity or teambuilding will help stoke brainstorming, there’s an inflatable kayak on board and a bike rentals stand nearby.
Make Event Waves: The Great Lakes Schooner Company offers one of the city’s largest cruise boat fleets ranging from motorized yachts to tall-masted schooners for private group excursions around Toronto Harbour and the open waters of the city’s lakefront. The full-service floating venues cater to groups of up to approximately 500 depending on which vessel.
Water-perfect pitch: Each ship boasts spacious outdoor deck areas for dancing, socializing or simply taking in the from-the-water view of the skyline. The company’s event planning crew helps hoist full-on event themes complete with DJs, décor and unique entertainment.
Add on: A range of teambuilding packages gives your group a taste of life at sea including hands-on sailing and navigating a tall ship.
The Yachting Scene
Make Event Waves: Introduce your group to the nautical life by staging events in a yacht club setting. Among the city’s largest, is the Boulevard Club, which is available for member-sponsored private events. Perfectly positioned for easy access off Lakeshore Boulevard, the club offers several water-view event spaces.
Water-perfect pitch: Host an event in the 2nd floor main ballroom with its wall of paned windows and walk-out to a spacious verandah overlooking the lake and boating action in the docks area. Ideal for cocktail receptions of up to 600, sit-downs for 250.
Add on: The event-planning department is happy to arrange dragon boat rentals for teambuilding, or coordinate a cruise boat tour with pick up and drop off at the dock followed by post-cruise cocktails in the club.
Make Event Waves: Hornblower Niagara Cruises recently launched Niagara Thunder and Niagara Wonder into the churning waters of Niagara Falls. The 700-passenger catamarans replace the Maid of the Mist in transporting visitors from the Canadian side to the foot of the falls. There’s also the Niagara Guardian, Hornblower’s 150-passenger jet boat. The vessels are available for private buy out.
Water-perfect pitch: Check out the new hour-long sunset cocktails tour plus a nighttime falls illumination and fireworks excursion.
Add on: Keep the party going with a post-tour event in Hornblower’s Visitor Centre adjacent the docks at the bottom of the gorge. The view looking up at the thundering waterscape is spectacular.
Make Event Waves: Challenge the team with learning the latest water sport – stand up paddle boarding. SUPsurf, located in the Toronto Beaches, provides lessons and paddling equipment – board, paddle, tether and personal flotation device — for groups of any size. One week’s advanced booking is required for groups of more than 12. Paddling newbies welcome.
Water-perfect pitch: Packages include a one-hour introductory lesson prior to hitting the water in front of the Beaches. For a more scenic experience, book the Toronto Islands tour which starts at Hanlan’s Point and paddles through the canals and waterways to Ward’s Island.
Add on: Gather for a post-paddling pint in one of the many pubs or restaurants along Queen Street East or host a BBQ on the beach.
Make Event Waves: Is your event surrounded by dry land? No problem! Check out Superior Events’ roster of if-you-can’t-bring-them-to-water-bring-the-water-to-them ideas. Build a water fun park from the ground up with inflatable slides, super-sized wading pools and other games to jumpstart a company picnic or make a teambuilding splash.
Water-perfect pitch: Novel water toys and gadgets are sure to get group adrenaline flowing. Check out Bubble Rollers, giant inflatable bubbles that keep you dry while running, walking, jumping on water. Or skim across water in paddleboats. Foam-filled pools and roomy misting stations are both fun and refreshing.
Add on: Superior’s one-stop shopping lets you go water carnival wild with additional games such as dunk tanks, ponds and food concession stands.