The Open Spaces, Stunning Windows and Incredible History Will Set A Memorable Victorian Mood For Your Big Day at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse
The term schoolhouse is no longer commonly used, evoking a historic and nostalgic feel. In fact, when you recall schoolhouses you are taken back to the days of Little House on the Prairie, where Laura Ingalls struggled with her vocabulary lessons while trying to avoid mischief within the walls of the one-room structure where her older sister taught. Every element of that historic charm is maintained within the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse.
Built in 1848, the schoolhouse looks untouched although skilfully preserved. It is the oldest school in the city and was the first free school in Toronto. The West Hall, added in 1869, possesses all the original charm and has been impeccably restored. The day we visited the sky was overcast yet that didn’t prevent the natural light from coming through the arched windows. The rooms were well illuminated so there was little need to turn on any fixtures. Candles and fresh flowers are all that couples would need to decorate the rooms, the Victorian architecture presenting a glorious backdrop.
School is in Session
The original schoolhouse room is set up just like a classroom, with wooden desks and a blackboard. Although you are not allowed to remove any of the furniture from the room you are certainly able to move it. In many instances, the desks are rearranged to create an isle for the wedding ceremony, transforming the room into a simple chapel space. The recessed arched window areas are ideal for candles, creating lovely romantic lighting. Outside of the “classroom” there is an open space well designed for a pre-reception cocktail hour.
The building is also a museum so there is a front desk area that can easily double as the bar area. (You are in charge of getting your own liquor license and the facility doesn’t charge a corkage fee.) Across from the lobby is the West Hall. With its original solid wood beams and arched windows it more than holds it own as an ideal ceremony and reception space. There are three windows lined up toward the back of the room which make for an idyllic marriage ceremony location as well as perfect for photographs. Also included for free is a baby grand piano. (But keep in mind if you intend to play copyrighted music of any kind you will need to pay a SOCAN Fee, Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada.)
Walking You Through It
In order to hold the space, you will need to provide a deposit of 50% of the venue rental fee (which can range from $1,250 to $2,500 depending on the day of the week, with Saturday and Sunday being the most expensive). You will have the space for a very generous amount of time, 1pm to 1am, and are given exclusive use of the entire venue.
All catering is done onsite with one of four catering companies from which to choose. (Those caterers are the only ones authorized to work on the premises.) While the Schoolhouse doesn’t have an outdoor space to host a ceremony or reception some couples have gotten a permit to use the public park next door. (However, as it is a public park you can’t completely control the guest list and you might have some unexpected spectators.)
Most weddings at the Schoolhouse host around 120-150 guests (150 being the maximum allowed). In the over 35 years of hosting weddings the Schoolhouse finds that May through the end October are the most popular with couples, so be sure to book at least a year in advance. (They have around 60 weddings a year.)
The Little Trinity Anglican Church
For interested couples, right next door to The Schoolhouse is The Little Trinity Anglican Church, just in case that was something that appealed to you. Furthermore, their grounds are beautiful and great for photographs.
Has The Schoolhouse Had Any Notable Student Guests, So to Speak?
The cast of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding actually rented the schoolhouse and used it as a rehearsal space during filming. For those cinema buffs out, the special events coordinator said that Tom Hanks, the producer of the movie, “was lovely to talk to and you would never know he was a celebrity.” Also, Sarah Polley, a very well-respected Canadian actor and director was married at the Schoolhouse.
Hands on Service
The Wedding and Special Events Coordinator for the Schoolhouse, says that once brides choose the venue for their big day, she is very hands on, often meeting with the couples in person several times. And while she has met very few “Bridezillas,” she has dealt with her share of Moms of the Bride AND Groom being a tad bit overeager, shall we say. As such, she often willingly acts as mediator, a job she understands and enjoys. She also finds that a bride rarely needs an outside wedding planner the day of the wedding as there is always someone onsite from her staff to facilitate and make sure it all runs according to plan.
For brides looking for that one-of-a-kind historical setting, Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is a perfect fit. Don’t wait; contact Special Events Coordinator today for additional information and a tour!
Details, details, details
• Average Bride Spends: $10,000
• Taxes gratuities Fine Print that Applies: HST not included
• Deposit Required to Book: 50% deposit is required
• Months to Book ahead: 8-12 months in advance of date
Contacting Enoch Turner Schoolhouse
To find out more, a Special Events Consultant at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse can be reached by email using the form directly below 🙂 This venue is located at 106 Trinity Street in the historic Corktown neighbourhood of Downtown Toronto. You can also visit Enoch Turner Schoolhouse online at www.heritagetrust.on.ca.
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