Sometimes the best event spaces are in places you least expect. Like retail stores! You’d be surprised at how many shops are eager to share their meticulously designed and curated settings with events that fit.
Here are five fab event-hip retail venues to consider:
Where: Vitaly, a Queen West at Spadina shop and online retailer of hip unisex accessories plus men’s fashion basics.
The Space: Home for this grunge-fashion brand’s bricks-and-mortar flagship is a historic building, opened last fall, featuring its wares on the first floor and a 2,000-sq.-ft. curated concept shop and event space on the second. Accessible by industrial steel staircase, level two’s loft aesthetic embraces the retailer’s street-savvy fashion style with rustic touches, original hardwood, and exposed concrete and brick walls. In front, modular display fixtures reconfigure for more party space with windows on Queen. Lounge couches, dining table, games and kitchen preside over the back area.
Added Event Value: Millennials will LOVE this space! In addition to hosting social events, Vitaly puts together cool learning meetups and workshops.
Capacity: 150 guests
The Space: Canvas is a fitting name for this 5,000-sq.-ft. blank slate of open-plan, light-filled space. Refurbished milk crates and block moulding installations give the white-washed walls textured visual interest. Take a peek through one bank of windows to the furniture retailer’s showroom below for design inspiration. In fact, the shop is a source for furnishings, fixtures and accessories in the space. Black sliding barn doors pop off the walls to complement the venue’s black-and-white flooring. An exposed industrial ceiling adds warehouse character. Garage doors roll up on an in-house kitchen and additional dining area.
Added Event Value: Besides having its own parking lot, The Food Dudes oversee the venue which means top-notch attention to catering and event detail options.
Capacity: 170 seated; 400 reception-style
Where: Host in a place that’s near and dear to foodies — the St. Lawrence Market.
The Space: This city landmark has been a community and culinary go-to since 1803. Aside from being home to over 100 retail vendors, the market has two distinct event spaces. The Market Kitchen, a 2,400 sq. ft. demonstration cooking and special event venue, is located on the west mezzanine of the South Market, overlooking the hustle and bustle of food vendors and shoppers. Its pairing of state-of-the-art appliances against the historical architecture and exposed brick, soaring ceiling and beautiful 20-ft. paned windows makes a distinctive event statement. West-facing Toronto skyline views are backdrop superb. Monday through Thursday, the Temporary Market, an enormous all-weather tent in an adjacent parking lot, is multi-versatile and big-crowd perfect. Turn the space into a dining wonderland, a unique conference venue or corporate team building field.
Added Event Value: Get your event cooking with culinary workshops in The Market Kitchen.
Capacity: The Market Kitchen 80 reception-style, 50 seated; The Temporary Market, 350
Where: Located on College Street at Lansdowne Avenue, Souvenir is a studio-shop-gallery that showcases local designers, artists and creators.
The Space: An all-white exterior and interior makes for a modern, gallery-inspired setting that’s both intimate and impactful. Plenty of light spills in through the wrap-around store-front windows of the corner lot adding to the ethereal airiness of the 12-ft.-ceiling space. Integrated wall-shelving units work great as both display and event fixtures. A small prep kitchen is available. Fostering a holistic sensibility, the space is ideal for workshops, meetings, gallery exhibits, pop-up shops, photo shoots and parties. A small outdoor area is available in season.
Added Event Value: Call on the talents of owner and graphic and textile artist Danielle Suppa for event invite design and styling.
Capacity: 50 reception-style; 12 seated (workshops)
Coffee Culture Plus
Where: Offsite is a café, retail shop, gallery and event space all rolled into one located on Dundas Street West.
The Space: Fusing Canadian fashion, local art and barista talent, this intimate, bright, and versatile shop is perfect for private, small-gathering events, launches, shows, pop ups, exhibitions, photo shoots, and product launches beginning at 6 p.m. The coffee counter, with a 14-ft. bar top, sits front-of-house with tables and chairs that are rearrangement mobile. Retail wares are set at the back of the store with plenty of mingling and display room. There’s also a cute 200-sq.-ft. patio. For built-in visual interest, cast a vibe-enhancing spotlight on Vessna Perunovich’s “Mending Broken China” art installation that presides over the coffee area.
Added Event Value: Great coffee! Engage Offsite’s baristas to perk and serve locally roasted java and other espresso-based bevvies.
Capacity: Approximately 65