Marriage licences in Toronto are currently obtained from the City Clerk's office in New City Hall. Moving that registry service AND a chapel area back to the "Weddings" office at Old City Hall (OCH) will certainly add historic atmosphere to the occasion!
For weddings, receptions, conferences, events and birthday parties, the City of Toronto currently rents out 12 historic sites: Assembly Hall, Cedar Ridge Creative Centre, Clark Centre for the Arts, Colborne Lodge, Fort York National Historic Site, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Montgomery's Inn, Scarborough Museum, Spadina Museum, Todmorden Mills and Zion Schoolhouse.
At risk of drawing wedding reception or other business from these sites, the potential for creating seamless party or meeting experiences in OCH could be immense -- especially if investments are made into remodelling the registry office and creating facilities for a restaurant which could provide catering. Besides the obvious factor of its central location on subway and streetcar lines, advantages of OCH include its:
* Wide range of rental spaces from the intimacy of the smallest courtroom (complete with decorative fireplace) to the grandness of the original city council chamber to the views from long tables set along the mezzanine to the glamour of the fifth floor, former court reporters' office with spectacular views of Nathan Phillips Square and beyond -- especially at sunset, at night or for special events like the Raptors' win.
The original Mayor's office (not shown) with murals and a view of Queen Street is in good enough condition to have served until 2023 as the Regional Justice's office. It would be an exceptional location for a small wedding and/or reception!
* Staircases for wedding or other group photos. No worries about the weather!
* Proximity to parking under New City Hall or the Eaton Centre. Parking in OCH's courtyard can be for limousines, buses, vendors, dj's dropping off equipment etc.
* Eventually, entertainment for wedding guests (such as while photos are being taken) can take the form of visiting the Museum of Toronto and/or in-building shops and bars.
Long-term, there is the potential for OCH to offer one-stop organizing of weddings or other events to suit all budgets.
The City of Kingston offers wedding packages starting at $350 for an indoor or outdoor venue (a waterfront pavillion), ceremony, officiant and six guests. Higher prices include a photographer, more guests and flowers for marriage partners. Old City Hall could go further by arranging for a range of catering prices with in-building restaurants.