About five years ago around this time, my (now) wife and I set out to find a place to hold our wedding. Many of our guests either lived in Toronto, or were flying in for the occasion. Neither of us had been to any Toronto weddings, so we were coming up short on ideas for venues. With the help of my sister, any other people who had ideas and the internet, we collected a list of 10 or so places to go see.
The first place on our list was the Kortright Centre for Conservation. Set back in the forest, it certainly was a picturesque backdrop for a wedding. As it turned out, it would have been a wonderful day, if a little warm, for an outdoor wedding. However, our concern over rain forcing people into the log cabin room with all of the stuffed owls ultimately won out. Also, it was fairly far from downtown Toronto, which would have forced people to stay in hotels and take cabs. On the plus side, it was maple syrup season while we were there, so we got a bit of education and a tasty treat to boot.
After that, we did a string of places in the city. I don't remember all of the places we went, but I do remember that some were too small, some too expensive and some wouldn't let us bring in our own catering, which we had already decided on. I remember being very disappointed walking into a place thinking it was perfect, only to find out that they tally the drinks throughout the night and charge you $5 a piece at the end. That just wasn't in the budget. Some places we checked out online and because of the price, didn't even bother going to in case we fell in love with them.
The whole experience was daunting and left us feeling much less optimistic than when we started. Drained of both energy and gas from the trip, we stopped at the 7-Eleven on Queen St. I was filling up my trusty GMC Safari with gas when I noticed someone approaching in the reflection of the tinted windows. This is a lucky fact, because had I not seen that, I may have been more likely to turn and punch the man, my sister's boss, Stuart McLean. Instead of hastily spinning and fighting, though, I let him playfully push me up against the van and demand my money. We then said our greetings and I explained to him our troubles in the hunt for a weding venue. He suggested a couple of places we had looked at, but also said he had gone to a wedding at a place called the Cecil Street Community Centre that was really nice. We hadn't heard anything about the place and were unable to get in to see it on that particular day, but I returned shortly after to scope it out.
It turned out to be this neat little multi-purpose building just off Spadina that was a synagogue-turned-Chinese Community Centre. The day I was there, it's purpose was a daycare, which made it a bit hard to take pictures. The price, location and building all came together to be exactly what we were looking for and we booked it. The only problem was that it didn't have air conditioning, which we didn't think would be an issue in early June; but if you were there, you'll remember that it would have been a nice addition to an otherwise wonderful day. So we are thankful that we happened to be filling up with gas as Stuart happened to be strolling by that day, who knows how things would have turned out otherwise.