Artists and Non-Artists Will be Drawn to the Intimate and Cultural Feel of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto
The Arts & Letters Club impresses as soon as one enters the historical building on Elm St. in downtown Toronto. Paintings, drawings and photographs grace the entrance way. The beautiful and original works of art capture your attention as you walk up the stairs into the lobby. It is not surprising that a club catering to all genres of art would feature works of art in every room.
The Club was founded in 1908 by a group of artists and supporters of the arts with the purpose of creating an “organization that was committed to championing the arts in English-speaking Canada”. The Club has had its home in The St. George’s Hall since 1920. It is an incredible structure which was built in 1891 and has been fully renovated. Strolling through the rooms you are harkened back to a time where the intellectual elite gathered in salons and sitting rooms discussing art and society.
Although not an incredibly large space (maximum is 112 people) there is so much charm and ambiance you will feel excited to celebrate your special day amongst the creative genius that undoubtedly has frequented the premises.
On the first floor of the Club is the Great Hall with a cathedral ceiling and large baronial fireplace. Toward the end of the room there is a proscenium area with a raised stage, ideal for bands. In fact, an upcoming February wedding will be hosting a 16 piece band on that very stage. In addition, a choir gallery is situated above which is a great opportunity for photographers to get a bird’s eye view of the entire wedding. Also available for rent is a Steinway piano for some cocktail hour live mood music. Adorning the walls is all original artwork, which is for sale and is rotated every 30 days.
Right outside the Great Hall is a lounge area with a lovely bar and seating area, creating a warm environment for perhaps a cocktail hour or just a place to slip away and enjoy the art and history decorating the space.
Upstairs is the Library, named “Bridle Suite” after the founding member Augustus Bridle, which is a perfect place for the bridal party to get ready or decompress before the “show” starts, so to speak. Every book contained in the Library is either written about or by members or past members of The Club (you know, just in case you craved a little artistic inspiration before taking the plunge).
The Artists Studio is located on the third level and a perfect space for photographs. All catering is done on-site and the Catering Manager, Joseph Sweeney, is available to help create your wedding based on your individual needs. While there is no private parking on site, there are two underground garages two doors down from the Club.
Do I Have to Be a Member of The Arts and Letters Club to Get Married There?
The Club opened its doors to the public many years ago as a way to provide an opportunity for outside people to enjoy events at the club. So no, you don’t have to be a member, although many members do get married there. According to the General Manager, Fiona McKeown, people who tend to get married at the location “connect to the club in some way either in their interests or in their business life.” For example, The Toronto Society of Architects meets there regularly and consequently some of their members have chosen to be married there.
The Club doesn’t really advertise as a wedding venue and finds that most couples have found out about it by word of mouth. As one of the city’s hidden gems, they only host around 15 weddings a year. Awards ceremonies and various other corporate and social events are also hosted at the Club on a regular basis. The fall through spring months are the most popular, and they are closed for three weeks in August. In order to secure The Club, 50 percent deposit based on the estimated cost of the wedding is required. Also, because of the various events that take place throughout the year, booking at least a year in advance is recommended.
Diversity in the Arts
What we found so refreshing about The Club was the diversity of the couples. Last year they hosted several same sex marriages. While many of their couples are musicians and artists, patrons of the arts also choose the unique venue. In fact, one couple was just walking by one day and found the building interesting and decided to host their wedding there.
The Personal Touch
Joseph said that he often meets with couples in person several times during the planning. The staff also gets to know the couple as well as their parents, in-laws and friends. They offer a complimentary menu tasting for couples being married there. For a fee, you can also sample the food before you decide on the venue. They do not have a space to host outdoor weddings, although in some instances clients have used the courtyard at the Delta Chelsea Hotel next door for summer weddings (you would have to arrange that with the hotel directly). Most people opt to have the ceremony and the reception in the Great Hall and Joseph works closely with couples to make sure no detail is overlooked.
Fiona said that “it’s the nice combination of history along with comfortable atmosphere that makes the Club stand out from other venues. It’s not about stainless steel, mirrors and glass.” With its walls of fine art and unique history, The Club will create a memorable atmosphere for your wedding and one that you and your guests will be talking about for years to come.
Details, details, details
- Average Bride Spends: Cost of the venue, food, beverage etc. including gratuities and HST $10,000-14,000
- Taxes Gratuities Fine Print that Applies: SOCAN $41.13 and RE:SOUND $18.51
- Deposit Required to Book: $1500
- Months to Book Ahead: 8-10 months
Contacting Arts and Letters Club
A Special Events Consultant at the Arts and Letters Club can be reached by email directly using the form below 🙂 The club is located at 14 Elm Street, Toronto . You can also visit Arts and Letters Club online at www.artsandlettersclub.ca.
Rate & review Arts and Letter Club…