A Marriage in a Pear Tree: A Beautiful Holiday Style Shoot

Just in time for the holidays, this dreamy shoot is sure to inspire you! The folks at Wu La La Weddings & Events arranged for a fresh and elegant look for this holiday creative inspired by Pantone’s 2018 fall/winter colour, red pear.

From the PlannerFor this holiday shoot, we wanted to inspire couples with a modern and chic way of incorporating the holidays into their winter wedding without making it too “Christmassy” and keeping a sense of timelessness while still feeling fresh and refined. 

The stylish decor features deep reds complimented by lots of greenery as well as soft pinks, ivory, and hints of gold. The snow white walls in the Conversation Room at The Great Hall serve as the perfect backdrop to make these festive colours pop! The talented team at Pep Studios capture all of the joyous details.



The ceremony was setup with beautiful crystal clear Tiffany chairs courtesy of Detailz Couture Event RentalsFlower Treasures designed delicate wreaths adorned with roses, dahlias and carnations to hang on the crisp white walls.


Photo by: Pep Studios (www.pepstudios.co)





Eve of St. George isn’t perfect, but it’s still an absorbing night of immersive theatre

Julia Cratchley’s choreography acts as a storytelling device in Eve of St. George at the Great Hall, writes Carly Maga.
Julia Cratchley’s choreography acts as a storytelling device in Eve of St. George at the Great Hall, writes Carly Maga.

Directed and choreographed and by Julia Cratchley. Music by Owen Belton. Text by Jeff Kuperman and Julia Cratchley. Until Jan. 27 at The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W.TranscenDanceProject.com.

TranscenDance Project, founded by Toronto-born Julia Cratchley, has brought its Canadian ode to New York City’s Sleep No More to the Great Hall, Eve of St. George. Whereas the American production takes its inspiration from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Cratchley’s title refers to the holiday that unleashes evil upon the world in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.

Across the four floors of the Great Hall complex, audience members in black masks can follow characters like vampire hunter Van Helsing (Ryan Lee), lawyer Jonathan Harker (Matthew Kazmierczak), Mina Murray, the object of Jonathan’s affection (Kelly Shaw), mental patient Renfield (Alvin Collantes), the vampire himself, Count Dracula (Jack Rennie), and more as the famous story unfolds in various locations simultaneously.

Comparisons are inevitable and though Eve of St. George perhaps isn’t groundbreaking in its style it’s still a solidly impressive evening.

The Great Hall is an effective venue for such a production, though it would certainly pose an issue for anyone with mobility impairment. Its stateliness is fitting for a rendezvous with a rich, powerful and mysterious count, with ample room for audiences and ensemble cast dances without feeling cramped.

In its third run at the Great Hall, Cratchley’s staging has found its groove: the performers are comfortable moving from space to space and I was never left without something to watch unless I was purposefully looking for some solo time to snoop through Jennifer Goodman’s sets.

Cratchley’s choreography acts as a storytelling device, going for action and mood over inventiveness. It’s slow and intimate and broody — until Snell’s fight choreography kicks in — enhanced by Owen Belton’s music, which draws naturally from the human heartbeat.

As is typical with the immersive style, group scenes are countered with one-on-one monologues and moments, which is where Eve of St. George shows an area for improvement: the written text by Jeff Kuperman and Cratchley doesn’t show the same level of care and attention as the staging does.

At 90 minutes, it’s possible to get a good grasp of the story of Dracula, with the obvious impossibility of seeing everything. Still, Eve Of St. George doesn’t beg for a repeated viewing — it feels satisfying on its own (which I guess is both a compliment and a criticism).

Video interview with Julia Cratchley


The hunt for a perfect event space—whether you’re planning a wedding or a buzzy conference—can be overwhelming to say the least. It takes a lot of Goldie Locks-ing before you find one that is just right. Enter The Great Hall, a historic Victorian heritage building located in the heart of downtown Toronto, providing a picturesque backdrop for any event, whether it’s an intimate soirée or a 1200-person celebration.
The stunning (and Insta-worthy) space played host to The Kit Connect Conference 2018, and we’ve been abuzz about The Great Hall ever since. The Great Hall’s most notable guests include luminaries Justin Trudeau, George Clooney and Commander Chris Hadfield, just to name few. Here’s everything you need to know about your next event space.


The flagship venue dubbed the Main Hall features a horse-shoe shaped balcony, 30-foot ceilings, Waterford crystal chandeliers and a wall of gilded scrollwork framing the legendary stage make this space. Plus, the area has a built-in back bar making it ideal for large celebrations.


On the same floor as the Main Hall, the Conversation Room overlooks Queen Street West, complete with crisp white walls, crown mouldings, and chevron hardwood floors (a.k.a. the epitome of Victorian-chic). Perfect for a mid-size soirée.


The light-filled Drawing Room is as adaptable as it is intimate, with a gourmet kitchen, 19th century windows and a cozy marble fireplace. The perfect setting for an intimate gathering over delicious food and drinks.


Finally, Longboat Hall one of the city’s truly unique spaces. The space comes complete with a 360-degree balcony which (*fun fact*) once acted as an indoor running track when the building was used as a YMCA gymnasium, and is fittingly named after renowned distance runner and national hero, Tom Longboat, who trained here in the early 20th century. Sandstone brick, cast iron pillars, and the polished concrete floor combine to lend this singular venue an air of Industrial Age charm. Now THAT is how to host a festivity with an impact!



On the Hunt for Your Next Event Space? Look No Further

Sasheer Zamata and Scott Thompson to play Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival

The SNL alum and Kids In The Hall veteran are among 14th-annual fest’s first wave of performers


Saturday Night Live alum Sasheer Zamata and Scott Thompson’s new one-man show The Buddy Cole Monologues are among the first wave of acts confirmed for next year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival.

Zamata will perform two-stand up sets at Longboat Hall on March 7 and 8, while Thompson will perform as his beloved Kids In The Hall’s character Buddy Cole on March 14 at the Great Hall. Tickets for both shows are now on sale.

Running from March 7 to 17, the 14th-annual TOsketchfest will feature over 80 acts, with more performers to be announced in the coming months.

Earlier this year, Zamata was at Toronto International Film Festival for the world premiere of Toronto filmmaker Stella Meghie’s romantic comedy, The Weekend. Zamata plays a struggling stand-up comedian who finds herself third-wheeling on a weekend getaway with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. In addition as a cast member for four seasons of SNL, Zamata has also appeared in Transparent, Inside Amy Schumer and People of the World.

Earlier this year, Thompson revived and updated his popular gay socialite character from Kids In The Hall by re-releasing the mock memoir Buddy Babylon: The Autobiography Of Buddy Cole and creating a new one-man show. It promises to feature a mix of the character’s classic rants and reviews alongside new material.

Past TOsketchfest headliners have included NOW Magazine cover star Kate McKinnon, The Kids in the Hall, comedy synth duo Ninja Sex Party and This Hour Has 22 Minutes’s Gavin Crawford.

The festival runs from March 7 to 18. For ticket info, visit torontosketchfest.com.




NOVEMBER 21, 2018

Miranda Mulholland Interviews RIAA Chair Cary Sherman

Cary Sherman, the outgoing chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), sat down with artist, label owner and festival founder Miranda Mulholland, at the recent Music Canada year-in-review at Toronto’s The Great Hall, to “share memorable moments in his career,” that ranged from politics and policy to the personal.

Naturally, much of the chat for the industry members in attendance was about history and the changes that led to the recent passing of the Music Modernization Act on Oct. 11.  But Sherman also revealed some fun facts about himself, including that his father was born and raised in Toronto, he is a first-generation American, his favourite album is Sgt. Pepper’s; he plays the piano; and Rihanna sent him a platinum award and note complimenting his “platinum smile.”

“That’s the first time I’ve ever gotten a gift from a major artist, and it’s in my office and that is very, very cool,” Sherman said. He has worked at RIAA for over two decades.

The graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School joined RIAA in 1997 as general counsel.  In 2011, he replaced Mitch Bainwol as CEO; his successor is the current president, Mitch Glazier, whom he made a point to mention during his interview.

“Mitch was born to do this legislation, he really was,” said Sherman. “He is an amazing mastermind in terms of legislative strategy, but he also has an unbelievable personality, so that everybody in every sector — whether it be producers, managers, PR, publishers —would go to him for — ‘How can we do this?’ and ‘How can we manage this particular member?’ and so on.

“Mitch really deserves the credit for getting this done through the Congress because bringing the industry together was an amazingly important piece, but if you can’t deliver on the actual legislative tactics inside the Congress, this would not have happened.

“And then we all got to watch Trump take credit for the whole thing,” he quipped.

Below are some bullets from his 20-minute chat with Mulholland.

On the key piece of Music Modernization Act:

At a very high level, there are five pieces to the legislation — the most important is that it creates a blanket mechanical license. So instead of getting one mechanical license at a time, work by work, which is a compulsory license in the United States, and it’s very dysfunctional, you now file a piece of paper and get a blanket mechanical license and then you will pay royalties, along with reports of usage to a music licensing collective that will then have the responsibility for distributing the money to the right publishers and songwriters. That’s a huge improvement in efficiency over the existing system. Every digital musical service had to try and find out who owns every musical work and have its own database of that information and then make payments to all those people. This is going to be much more efficient to have a centralized database, which will be the authoritative source of the information and for all this money to go into this music licensing collective and be distributed to songwriters and publishers.

On spouses, building relationships and getting to know each other:

“This was a dozen years in the making. When I started off in the industry, which was 1974, my first job was to fight publishers and fight songwriters and to make sure that they didn’t get a bigger share of the pie than we did… It was a mess. It was very fractured community. Over time, as we realized that fighting for each piece of the pie simply means that the pie never gets larger because we’re not fighting together against the real people that we need to be fighting, which have now become the tech companies, we were hurting ourselves. And that in order to get past the history of the industry, we needed to construct an entirely different relationship. I never met with the CEO of ASCAP or BMI. The only time I met with the head of NMPA, which is music publishers, was when we had something specific to negotiate or fight. It was never to get together to talk about things.

So, we created a group of CEOs of the music industry associations that would get together twice a year to actually just sit and talk abut what’s going on and what issues you’ve got and why you’re taking the positions that you are and we’d talk them through, and so on. It became not only informative and educational, but it became a relationship and suddenly you knew the people you were dealing with. In fact, we specifically asked to have significant others, with spouses, come to these events to that we created relationships where you did not want to do something to offend some other group because you knew them personally; you knew their family. Twelve years later, we now can operate as a music community with an email…It took a dozen years of trust building, of conversation, of understanding where each other is coming from, to get to the point where you could reach compromises. The MMA was a series of compromises that everybody had to make to be able to get on the same page so that everybody could support everybody else.

On playing piano since the age of six:

Clearly have a gift for it because I had perfect pitch and I played by ear so I took to it very quickly, but I also knew that I did not have the discipline or the drive. One of the things I learned when I started writing songs — and I actually tried to get record companies to listen to them or radio stations to listen to them — is my God, it is difficult to sell yourself and sell your work and what a commitment you have to have in order to actually pursue this as a career. So, I decided not to [laughter]…I went to law school instead and I came into the back door. So it’s been fun to be involved with music creators and music professionally. I feel like I’m able to give them something other than that my piano playing and my lyrics.

On an album that had a significant impact on him growing up:

I grew up during the Beatles, so it’s hard to imagine anybody coming close in terms of the impact that The Beatles had on musically. The Sgt. Pepper’s album was simply a breakthrough album and completely redefined what an album is.

Up until that time, songs were ditties; there wasn’t a lot of structure to them. There was 1-4-5. This was now a studio album. This was not just singing a song in front of the microphone; you happened to do it in a studio, but it’s no different than performing on a stage. The Sgt. Pepper‘s album was actually a studio production that could not be reproduced on the stage because of what it created and it completely redefined the album concept. It redefined the future of music, and it opened up music in ways that nothing ever else had.

On meeting Jay-Z and Rihanna:

Generally, I’m sure you realize that if you meet emerging artists, they’re normal people and you relate to that and talk to them, and have a real conversation, but when you meet somebody who is already famous, there is a wall around them that is very, very hard to penetrate. They can’t trust anybody. They always think that somebody always wants something from them. I feel really bad for them because they can’t live normal lives. But as a result, you also come away with certain expectations about what they’re going to be like.

I just assumed that Rihanna would be pretty cold and pretty distant and pretty difficult. She was none of those things. She was amazingly warm and friendly…she sent me a platinum award with something about my platinum smile. That’s the first time I’ve ever gotten a gift from a major artist; it’s in my office and that is very, very cool. And Jay-Z, there’s somebody, he just loves the idea of being able to talk with somebody about what’s going on in the music business, what’s the future and how does this thing actually work and where is the money coming from.  I mean, he is a businessman and he really wants to understand the business. And so, meeting somebody who actually does it professionally is an opportunity for them. And I find that so often there are so many more artists that you would not expect, who really want to engage.

Nov 09, 2018 by Karen Bliss

Review: Low showed how to remain vital after decades at the Great Hall

Duluth, Minnesota’s Low are best known for their molasses-y post-rock sound, which they’ve been honing for the better part of 25 years. Though the trio established themselves in the 90s, they’ve steadily released 12 albums since then. Whereas bands of a similar vintage often turn their sets into career retrospectives, Low drew primarily from their five most recent albums during last night’s sold-out show at the Great Hall and did something few bands are capable of: demonstrate that their earliest work isn’t the prism through which their discography has to be understood.

In fact, the band’s latest album, Double Negative, sounds unlike anything else Low has ever recorded. It’s a gauzy, textural, abstract 45 minutes. The sounds coming from their bass, guitar and drums are familiar but almost unrecognizable – a fitting aesthetic choice for an album that contemplates the disorientation of life in Trump’s post-truth America.

The core of the band’s sound, which is evident on the record but becomes even clearer in a live setting, is the vocal harmonies courtesy of Alan Sparhawk (guitar) and Mimi Parker (percussion), who were joined by Steve Garrington on bass on the album and at this show. On stage, it was clear how well Sparhawk and Parker’s voices worked together. At first it seems like they complement each another because of how long they’ve been in a band (and also married), but early songs in the set like Quorum and No Comprende demonstrated those harmonies are the result of a band that truly listens to one another. They’re far from coasting on autopilot.

The rapt room felt completely silent in awed response, which lasted through the hour-and-a-half set. The quiet actually started before the set during the opening performance by Minneapolis-based IN / VIA (aka Nona Invie), whose delicate piano and voice-driven songs sent a hush throughout the venue.

Low occasionally took advantage of that silence, with Sparhawk’s marvelous fretwork filling the space with a heaviness that the band’s records never quite prepare you for. But it’s Low’s vocals that connect their material, making recent droning and noisy departures like Dancing And Blood fit so well alongside more straightforward classic-style Low songs like Spanish Translation from 2015’s Ones And Sixes and Especially Me, from 2011’s C’mon.

The usually chatty Sparhawk was fairly mum throughout the set, letting his appreciation show by dusting off of older songs like Do You Know How To Waltz? and Lazy. The two were played back to back, tethered to previous track Holy Ghost by an almost shoegazey performance. Every instrument bled into the next. The bleary sonics from those 90s cuts perfectly paired with the new material – an effective detour into the past without ever feeling like a nostalgia trip. Instead, it was a fluid connection to the present.



NOVEMBER 7, 2018

11:42 AM


Shad’s Tour Stopover in Toronto for Two Nights Promoting his New Rap Album

In Shad’s world, the truth doesn’t just set you free, it’s also bullet-proof.

At least, that’s Shadrach Kabango’s hope, expressed in the final song of his new album, A Short Story About a War, which hits stores Friday.

It’s his first rap album release in five years and he’ll be promoting it on his first tour in four years with a stop in his hometown of London, Ont., on Nov. 2.

The tour will take Shad to New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, a return to Canada for dates in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa before heading to the west coast with stops in to Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco and winding up in Toronto for two shows at The Great Hall Dec. 14 and 15.

The album touches on a long list of the world’s troubles, from war to migration, environment, politics, racism, hate, violence and greed with song titles such as Sniper, The Revolution/The Establishment, The Stone Throwers (Gone in a Blink), The Fool Pt 1 (Get it Got it Good), Peace/War, and The Fool Pt 2 (Water).

Main Hall Holds Art Battle’s Annual Canadian Championship

Art Battle Canada has held more than 650 events with 6,000+ artist-competitors across Canada since 2009. With thousands of artists represented in competitions across dozens of Canadian cities, the Art Battle community is deeply connected to Art in Canada. Each year, top artists from across the country battle to be named Art Battle Canada’s Champion. This year, Art Battle held their annual Canadian Championship at The Great Hall with 15 contestants competing for the title.

What is Art Battle you may ask? Art Battle is a live competitive painting event. Painters will create the best work they can across three timed rounds. As they work, the audience moves around the easels, allowing them an up-close view of the creative process. The only medium used is acrylic paint and the tools allowed are brushes, palette knives or any other non-mechanical implements. At the end of the round, the audience votes for their favorite painting and the top 2 artist move on to the Final Round with a new canvas. Audiences can also later place bids in a silent auction to take the paintings home.

A huge congratulations to this years Art Battle Canada Champion Dimitri Sirenko of Vancouver and the three runners-up who made it to the Final Round; Monique Legault of Sudbury, Karel Prickett of Fredericton and Moses Salihou of Toronto. Click here for the full list of competitors and their work.



Allison and Stefan Celebrate With Copper Pendants and Purple Hues

The Great Hall had the privilege of hosting Allison and Stefans ceremony and wedding. A simple, yet sophisticated, ceremony filled the Conversation Room with white chairs dressed by geoforms and a stunning arch front and centre. Allison had created the gorgeous arch as a DIY project using spray paint and copper paper straws while wiring all the elements prior to arriving to assemble the final arch day of.

The Main Hall’s set-up was a contrast to the ceremony with hues of purple and wooden chairs accentuated by copper pendants illuminated by tealight candles. The couple’s personality shone through their choice of table numbers, rather, famous figures from the good ol’days like Frank Sinatra. The newlyweds also proved to be a tight knit family using a sword, the family’s heirloom, to cut their cake.

The guests enjoyed a great night of live music, passed hors d’oeurves and dinner ending the night with a dancing and latenight poutine. Congratulations Allison and Stefan!


Longboat Hall hosts Courageous – My Safe Work

It’s that time of year again; school is out for the summer! Students will be flooding the work force and seeking out full or part time positions during the break. Although that sounds normal because a majority of the population held a job as a youth, there are a few important key points to be aware of. Did you know that new and young workers in Ontario are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time? Between 2012 and 2016, 30 young workers aged 15 to 24 died in work-related incidents, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) statistics. On April 27th Courageous – My Safe Work held an event in Longboat Hall to shed light on these facts to our youth.

At the age of 18, David Ellis was killed in a workplace accident. He was given limited training and no supervision. It was his second day on the job. After his death, David’s father, Rob Ellis, started MySafeWork, a not-for-profit organization and registered charity.

Emcee Raymond Ablack, Rob Ellis and guest speakers took time to educate young and new workers on safe work environments and their right to refuse to work if they feel unqualified for the appointed task. Injuries can result from inadequate training, orientation, and supervision; a lack of awareness and workplace rights and responsibilities also plays a huge part. Rob encourages our youth to ask questions, request proper training and to acknowledge when a situation is unsafe and that it’s ok to ask for help. Check out more about Courageous here.

Click here for more statics about youth and new workers in Ontario