Harding (Holcim) Waterfront Estate (Mississauga) –
up to 200 guests
Alabaster white, dreamy-looking mansion overlooks the picturesque waters of Lake Ontario and Joshua Creek. Its curved bay windows flow like water waves, its manicured lawn descends below the terrace like the underwater world. And it is that mesmerizing view, the blue blue sky, the blue green water, the calming green of the large garden, that defines this venue.
Facilities. Most weddings at Harding (formerly Holcim) take place between mid-May and mid-October, under the canopy of its seasonal tent. It is a spacious, well-lit, and floored semi-permanent installation that can support your standard electricity requirements (i.e., DJ or other audio-visual equipment you bring). In case of inclement weather, the tent flaps close.
A sample set-up would include a ceremony and reception on the back lawn (facing the lake) and dinner in the tent. Bridal Suite is available inside the mansion, and is air-conditioned and lockable. Other rooms in the mansion are available for the wedding party, private conversations and quiet moments. The venue would be exclusively yours all day until 1 am.
Suitability. The venue is located in a very serene spot, out of the hustle and bustle of Toronto, yet easily reachable by highways. It can accommodate your program for the entire day – from ceremony, outdoor pictures, quiet space, and reception / dinner. Fitting for its peaceful vibe, the event planning here is easy: the tent is already installed and familiar to caterers. The entire venue is wheelchair-accessible and has on-site complimentary parking for 125 cars.
Costs – as of mid-2018. The cost of the tent package (which includes full and exclusive access to the gardens and the mansion) on a Saturday is $3,900. Friday or Sunday rate is $2,000 ($1,050 for a 5-hour event). Round tables, chairs and linens are included in the rate, as well as a 1 hour rehearsal time slot. Catering will be provided by the venue. No landmark surcharge fee applies to your catering bill. You will need to rent fans (on a hot day), heating equipment (on a chilly day), and audio-visual equipment separately.
Captain Matthew Flinders (Mariposa Cruises – Harbourfront) – 150 to 575 guests
“They were romantics, if you can call someone searching for something as simple as an uncluttered horizon a romantic”. John Kretschmer.
Let the ever-changing cityscape from the Harbourfront to Humber Bay bask in the cool waters. Soak the warm glow of the sun setting over the lake. Captain Matthew Flinders, “grandest ship in Toronto”, welcomes your party of 150 to 575 onboard during the months of May to September. This Australia-built, newly-refurbished tourist ship, named after an Australian sea captain, offers a full range of on-board facilities. With its interior of honey-toned Tasmanian wood and indigo wool carpets, its offers the ultimate in comfort for your reception, dinner, and entertainment.
Facilities. The vessel is available for afternoon (11-5) and evening (6-11) time slots for up to 575 persons (standing). The biggest dining area, air conditioned lower deck, seats up to 160 guests at a time. The boat features ample dance floor space with dimmable lights and excellent audio/video set-up, with a retractable screen, LCD projector, and music reaching everywhere.
Suitability. Few venues downtown can rival the versatility of the space and the view. Queen’s Quay is easily reachable by TTC and paid parking is available a few steps away. The venue’s sun decks offer an unparalleled open-air experience while the weather is good, with a comfortable climate-controlled indoor space as a back-up in case of hot or inclement weather. If you’re wondering about the motion of the waters, selecting a bigger ship will help minimize it, but it’s a good idea to see for yourself. Mariposa Cruises often holds public events on this ship – for example, brunch and dinner cruises – where you can have a taste of the experience.
Cost – as of mid-2018. To rent the venue, you will pay charter fee ($7,250 plus tax on a Saturday evening in June – September, with discounts available for afternoon, on Sunday, and in May) plus port authority fees and Socan fees. What’s included in the charter fee? Glassware and furniture (including chiavari chairs), a professional event coordinator and a DJ. The regular duration of the cruise is about 4 hours, with additional time subject to extra charges. The ship offers its own catering with customizable buffet packages, with packages starting as low as $25-$30 per guest, but it is also open to accommodating your choice of caterer at a surcharge.
For more information, check out Mariposa Cruises’ website and get in touch with them for a tour.
Sunnyside Pavilion (south of High Park) –
up to 160 guests
At the first look, Sunnyside Pavilion evokes an Italian villa by the coast of Mediterranean.
Its relaxing vibe invites an Italian or Greek theme wedding and a toga style wedding dress. In the heat of the summer, this is the place to be: peaceful shaded courtyard, soft curved stairs, ornate fountain, quaint brick pavement, and cool lake air.
But there is more to Sunnyside. It is built like a medieval castle: its towers are separated by long walkways, its protective columns and cast iron railings breathe a different theme altogether…
Built in 1922 by the same architect who designed the Exhibition Place, this chameleon building was the place of the first Miss Toronto beauty pageant. Wedding-symbolic white arches will welcome you at the entrance and guide you inside. The T-shaped open-air upstairs, with its white satin draped ceiling, simply oozes romance. Its wooden buttress style ceiling inspires a variety of original decoration ideas, such as string lights and chinese lanterns. And the lake washes gently at your feet.
Facilities. The venue is available between June and August. Both the courtyard and the upstairs will be at your disposal, adding variety to the day’s events. The courtyard has capacity to seat up to 180 guests, and upstairs up to 160. The boardwalk cafe will remain open to the public (and washrooms are shared with the public), but you will have a separate entrance to the venue. The set-up is endlessly customizable, because the venue rents furniture, linens and tableware for each event (the preferred supplier is Affair Rentals), based on the preferences of the hosts. For special ceremonies, open candles are allowed in the venue.
Suitability. Other than its great versatility, the venue’s location is a stone’s throw from the Harbourfront with its picturesque views. Keep in mind, though, that because the venue is open to the elements, you have to watch out for things like the hurricane season (generally, September) or mosquito season. Most days, though, these are manageable: waterproof transparent plastic covers most of the openings in the upstairs space if required. Also, if that is important to you, note that the upstairs space is not wheelchair-accessible. Finally, the venue does not offer a bridal suite (secure storage location is available at the office).
Cost – as of mid-2016. The venue costs $2,500 for the reception, with an additional $950 for the ceremony. Venue decoration (specifically, ceiling draping) is optional but available at an additional $1,700-$2,400. Catering is provided by the venue itself, with packages ranging from $115 to $150, (including standard beverage package), plus tax and 15% gratuity and flexibility to incorporate ethnic meals into the menu. Equipment rentals are chargeable in addition to the catering package.
Take a minute to share your own experiences with the venues listed above!