’Tis almost the season of merry fun and good cheer. What’s up your event-planning sleeve in choosing this year’s holiday party venue? Something grand and fancy? The latest around-town “it” spot? Reservations at a must-try restaurant? Something completely different?
Whether it’s a corporate-wide holiday celebration, department luncheon or special client thank you, we’ve paired a few venue suggestions with festive theme ideas:
Venue: The Broadview Hotel
The ’Hood: Leslieville at Broadview and Queen Street East
The Space: This new boutique hotel was an instant hit when it opened the doors on the luxurious refurbishment of its historical building earlier this year. Press seven in the elevator for The Rooftop, a glass-enclosed lounge and event space with pyramid skylight and breathtaking city panoramas. Its terrace is winter-lovely for catching fresh air and holiday snowflakes. For a more intimate, private setting, The Tower, also on seven, is gorgeous with a chandelier-filled vaulted ceiling and majestic windows. There’s also Lincoln Hall on the third floor with its terrace overlooking Riverdale.
Capacity: Rooftop, 240 reception-style; The Tower, 20 seated; Lincoln Hall, 150 seated
Perfect For: Upscale holiday outings, from cocktails to dinner gatherings
Festive Suggestion: Time the party to catch the winter sun setting over the city
Venue: STK Toronto
The ’Hood: Yorkville, on the second floor of the former Four Seasons Yorkville Hotel
The Space: This upscale, contemporary vibe-driven steakhouse and chic nightspot is 8,800 sq. ft. and stylishly sultry from the moment you enter the street-level doors enroute to the second-floor action. Featuring a bar, lounge, bistro, raised dining space and two private dining suites, the setting is dramatic. Mood lighting washes colour into marble accents and sweeping architectural forms that swirl around windows and across the ceiling. Curvaceous white and rosewood rollback banquettes bring large groups together. The high-energy atmosphere ensures guests experience social gatherings, dining and entertainment in one setting.
Capacity: Bistro & lounge, 85 seated; Private dining suites, 16 seated or combined for 40 reception-style; Main dining room, 115 seated; Full buyout, 325 reception-style
Perfect For: Well-heeled dining and drinks for client and VIP occasions
Festive Suggestion: Have the talented mixologists shake up events with a master cocktails class
Venue: King Taps Toronto
The ’Hood: First Canadian Place in the Financial District
Cactus Club Cafe, this massive (450 seats!), new two-level beer palace offers over 70 craft beer and cider on tap. Designed for big-crowd socializing, hundreds of high-tops and chairs provide ample seating. The setting features reclaimed brick and cool pop art. Giant flat screens – all 53 of them – keep tabs on sports action. Elevated pub nosh includes pizza and a wide range of shareables showcasing local ingredients. Set menu options also available. The two-storey patio is hopping in summer.The Space: From the pros behind
Capacity: Reservations, groups of up to 7; Group bookings, 8+; Full buyout of lower-level bar, 100 (150 with summer patio)
Perfect For: Office celebrations, like a department luncheon or casual after-work gatherings
Festive Suggestion: A tasting flight of seasonal brewskies or a bottle of red Corleto Lambrusco Sparkling to start the party off with a holiday toast
Holiday Game On
Venue: House of VR
The ’Hood: Queen Street West
The Space: A lounge and event space filled with cutting-edge interactive virtual reality games and experiences. VR units and green screens span two storeys. Game unit walls fold in for additional room. LED lighting animates the space and ultra-mod seating pods. Augmented reality technology brings unique wall murals to life via smartphone apps. A vast library of individual and multiplayer games and experiences span a diverse selection of themes including sports, tourism, art and entertainment. Guests can enter a Van Gogh painting, transport themselves to centre stage of a Cirque du Soleil performance or unleash their creative side by painting graffiti on never-ending walls. Impressive!
Capacity: Main floor, 90; Top floor, 188; Full buyout, 278
Perfect For: Teambuilding, corporate and social outings looking for cool, interactive fun
Festive Suggestion: Let on-site VR hosts curate a selection of holiday experiences and games like Merry Snowballs
All That Glitters
Venue: The Symes
The ’Hood: The Junction District
The Space: An Art Deco beauty with official heritage designation, this multi-purpose venue officially opens the doors on its meticulously restored space next month. Raw elements like sand-blasted brick, metal trusses and round windows add industrial elegance. A vaulted ceiling and skylights crown the main floor’s Grand Symes, a 5,600-sq.-ft. space. Upstairs is the Scarlett Room, with a 4,100-sq.-ft. expanse that’s further extended by a spectacular terrace with unobstructed city views. Each room is equipped with a bar, staff and kitchen areas, private lounges and restrooms.
Capacity: Grand Symes, 350; Scarlett Room, 250; Scarlett Room Terrace, 250
Perfect For: A holiday gala, wedding or cocktail reception
Festive Suggestion: Dress the space for a Gatsby-meets-21st century celebration
Venue: The Loft, the new dedicated event and cooking studio from Dundas Street West-bakery Le Dolci
The ’Hood: Dupont and Davenport on Geary Avenue
Thrush Holmes. Food is the entertainment here (obvs!). Options include hands-on cook-and-dine classes, savouring the knowledge and tastes of chef demonstration workshops, or simply enjoying the great space while nibbling on Le Dolci sweets and Asian savouries from catering partner Kanpai Snack Bar.The Space: Big windows, snow white walls and 20-ft ceiling wrap the open-plan room with airy brightness. Black accents pop against gleaming stainless steel kitchen gear adding to the chic industrial vibe. The main wall features a large art piece with neon detail from famed Canadian artist
Capacity: Cocktail, 140; Seated, 60
Festive Suggestion: Plan a team cooking lesson around holiday appetizers and treats that guests can replicate at home this season
Venue: Chill Ice House
The ’Hood: Downtown’s Bathurst and Queen Street West area
The Space: It’s all about the novelty of bundling up in cozy capes and gloves to mingle, mix and Instagram from within the extreme coolness of 185,000 lbs of sculpted ice. The ice lounge’s interior is undeniably unique. Bathed in blue light, every detail is chiseled out of extremely frozen water, from walls and chairs to bar, accent pieces and cocktail glasses. Warm up in Gatsby’s Tale, the adjacent speakeasy. Tall ceilings, comfy couches and a piano give the room a laid-back vibe.
Capacity: Ice Lounge, 50; Gatsby’s Tale, 60; Full capacity, 110
Perfect For: Mid-sized company parties, cocktail receptions, holiday-timed product launches
Festive Suggestion: Holiday-themed live ice-carving demonstrations, customized ice sculptures, and cocktail and champagne ice luges
Venue: YWCA Toronto
The ’Hood: Dundas Street West and University on Elm Street
The Space: Dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, venue rentals at this historical building are not only affordable but also help fund YWCA Toronto’s programming and community support. In addition to a theatre-quality auditorium, there is a lovely reception hall, a boardroom and two meeting rooms. In-house AV equipment and event staff are top notch.
Capacity: Nancy’s Auditorium, 180 theatre-style; Rotary Club of Toronto Reception Hall, 58 reception-style; Boardroom, 30 seated; Meeting rooms, 10-18 seated
Perfect For: Budget-conscious events with corporate goodwill at heart
Festive Suggestion: In the spirit of the season, make a charitable donation to YWCA Toronto