Events: Heritage Night at The Great Hall (Video)

On September 21, 2016, The Great Hall partnered with Heritage Toronto to officially mark our 1973 City of Toronto historic building designation, with two plaques, and reveal our then almost complete, year-long restoration, with a Heritage Night public open house.

The Great Hall’s two Heritage Toronto plaques commemorate this building’s history since its 1889 beginnings as Toronto’s West End YMCA, and the connection to famed Onondaga long distance runner and WWI veteran Tom Longboat (Cogwagee), who trained here before winning the 1907 Boston Marathon in record-breaking time.

To highlight Tom Longboat’s enduring sport, community and cultural legacy, we also renamed The Great Hall’s large street-level venue, the original YMCA gymnasium, as Longboat Hall, in his honour. This two-storey event space offers its own, dedicated entrance off Dovercourt Rd. at Queen St. West, and showcases the original, hand-built, elevated running track Longboat once ran on, now used as a balcony and crush space. The revitalized Longboat Hall also features original brickwork, iron pillars, large Palladian windows on its west side, and a bar backed with original slate salvaged from the restoration of the building’s peaked Victorian roof.

The Great Hall Heritage Night was a collective effort and true “doors open” initiative designed to celebrate the past and heritage preservation, mark the beginning of a new era in The Great Hall story, and welcome all kinds of events, groups and individuals to continue to make their own history, right here in our four venues. The Great Hall team appreciates all those who contributed to making this milestone possible and everyone came out to mark the occasion with us. We also extend our particular thanks and acknowledgement for this event to:

TGH Heritage Invite

Heritage Toronto and the Plaques & Markers Program
Toronto Legacy Project
Program founder (and former Toronto Poet Laureate) Dennis Lee
Cindy Martin of the Turtle Clan of the Cayuga Nation
great great grandniece of Tom Longboat, on behalf of the Longboat family
Athlete, speaker and Heritage Night MC Waneek Horn-Miller
Toronto Councillor for Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina Mike Layton
Event sponsors Amsterdam Brewery and Angels Gate Winery
Entertainment Rambunctious band
Attendees Longboat Roadrunners

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