10 New Toronto Meeting Venues

By Carla Warrilow October 10, 2011, 12:03 PM EDT

Photo: Philip Castleton

These new and recently renovated ballrooms, conference centers, boardrooms, warehouses, and theatres in Toronto can accommodate groups small and large for meetings, conferences, product launches, presentations, and other types of corporate gatherings.

1.The 288,000-square-foot Scotiabank Convention Centre opened in Niagara Falls in April, just 500 metres from the Canadian falls. The large space offers 81,000 square feet of multipurpose space, a 17,000-square-foot ballroom, a theatre that seats 1,000, and eight meeting rooms, some of which can be combined to accommodate large groups.

2. After four years of construction, the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital opened its doors in May with a number of modern meeting rooms. The research and education facility offers six breakout rooms for as many as eight guests each, five classrooms for 50, a boardroom for 15, and a 200-seat auditorium, all with full audiovisual and projection capabilities, smart boards, and wireless Internet. The institute is conveniently located in the downtown core. 

3. The ING Direct Café opened in May and follows a unique business model. Network Orange on the second floor is a shared workspace with desks, two meeting rooms for six, and the Thompson Block that can accommodate 40. Non-members pay $20 for drop-in use of the meeting rooms while members get 20 hours of meeting-room use for $100 per month. The Thompson Block is free for community use, but meetings held there must be open to the public. The entire floor can be rented out on a case-by-case basis.  

4. Corus Entertainment opened in May of 2010, providing a whimsical background for business meetings. The artful corporate boardroom seats 24 at the main table and 20 additional guests at the built-in banquette, and the room has access to a private reception area and the sixth-floor waterfront terrace. The Corus University room can accommodate as many as 60 and is adjacent to smaller break-out rooms. All of the meeting spaces feature Telepresence video conferencing.  

5. The renovated industrial warehouse Airship37 opened its doors last Spring and has two event spaces. The 1,200-square-foot Gooderham Lounge comes with lounge furniture and a built-in bar, while the 2,500-square-foot Hanger is a blank canvas. Concrete floors, exposed brick, and roll-down garage doors maintain the industrial feel. The venue comes equipped with AV capabilities and a long list of in-house rental options.  

6. The Ritz-Carlton opened in February and offers four luxurious meeting spaces: the executive boardroom, which seats 12, the Cobalt Room for six, the 24-hour business centre on the club level, and the Gallery Room that accommodates 40 for a conference or 110 theatre-style. The Ritz also has the largest luxury ballroom in Toronto at 7,400 square feet.  

7. The Hoxton opened in August and began taking corporate bookings in September. The 8,000-square-foot club and event space is customizable and encourages brand integration. Projectors, widescreens, TV walls, and a hydraulic stage are all available onsite. The Hoxton features a 48-foot cinder block bar lit by 48 feet of LED panel lighting and a 1,000-foot electroluminescent wire chandelier.

8. Malaparte at the TIFF Bell Lightbox opened in December 2010. The versatile space, run by Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, can accommodate 150 seated or 250 standing and has direct access to the rooftop patio. White walls and textured surfaces keep the space versatile while visually interesting. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the downtown core and the CN Tower.  

9. The Germaine Group continued its Toronto expansion, opening Hotel Le Germaine Maple Leaf Square last December. The boutique hotel honoured its next-door neighbour, the Air Canada Centre, by naming its meeting rooms after hockey terms. The Neutral Zone seats 10, the Defense and Offensive zones each seat as many as 50, the Penalty Box seats 20, and the 1,020-square-foot Hall of Fame seats 75. Room configurations are flexible and each space comes equipped with cutting-edge technology.  

10. The Hilton Toronto Airport emerged from its $15-million renovation last year with 23,000-square-feet of modernized event and meeting space. Nineteen meeting rooms are available and include the 18-person Pearson Boardroom and the 10,000-square-foot Mississauga Ballroom.

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