Watch “By the Lake Book Club” with author Anar Ali. The program is presented by the Assembly Hall, in partnership with Humber College Faculty of Media and Creative Arts, and the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

This beautifully restored building was renovated to blend its history with an innovative modern design. The Hall is dedicated to nurturing and celebrating creativity, and arts-focused cultural events and performances. We’re also a favorite and flexible location for meetings, weddings and community celebrations.

The Assembly Hall has been an important part of the Etobicoke Lakeshore community for over a century. It was built in 1898 as part of the Mimico Lunatic Asylum, designed to serve as a place of recreation and worship for the patients and hospital staff. Patient labour was used to construct the Assembly Hall and various other hospital buildings. The hospital’s first superintendent, Dr. Nelson Henry Beemer, was a strong believer in meaningful work as a form of rehabilitative therapy.

The original purpose for the Assembly Hall was to meet the social and spiritual needs of the hospital. However, because there was no comparable facility in the area, the Assembly Hall soon became the principal gathering place for a multitude of community events, dances and concerts. The Asylum changed names repeatedly over the years, becoming the Mimico Hospital for the Insane in 1911, the Ontario Hospital, New Toronto in 1919 and finally renamed as the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, but the Assembly Hall maintained its name and central role throughout the entire history of the hospital.

After the closure of the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital in 1979, the Assembly Hall fell into disuse for two decades. The combined efforts of local activists and politicians helped to support the City of Toronto’s restoration of this facility, which reopened on in June 2001. The renovated Assembly Hall has been designed to meet a variety of cultural and community needs. The beautiful 250+ seat Performance Hall is a venue for music, theatre, dance, receptions and special events. The community rooms are used for art classes, meetings, workshops and rehearsals. Gallery spaces for visual arts are located throughout the building. The Assembly Hall is a rental facility for both public and private use.

Office Hours

Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed for all statutory holidays

Gallery Hours

Closed until further notice.

Public Transit

The Assembly Hall can be reached either by the 501 Long Branch streetcar, which runs along Lake Shore Blvd. W., or by the 44 Kipling South bus, from Kipling Station.

Location

1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive

Parking is available

A wide variety of workshops are available through the Assembly Hall. Details can be found below.

Register for classes online or by phone 416-338-7255 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m).

The Assembly Hall is dedicated to providing timely, accessible and high quality services to our clients. Staff will take all reasonable measures to accommodate accessibility needs. Please contact us, if you have any special needs requirements.

Please note, The Assembly Hall facilities are excluded from Parks, Forestry and Recreation policies and procedures, including the Welcome Policy.


Upcoming Workshops

Visual Arts Workshops for Adults

Still Life Drawing and Painting: Texture, Depth and Tone

Learn how to master a still-life, while improving your drawing and painting skills. Duplicate shiny/reflective surfaces, liquids, crystal and food. Perfect for beginners and experienced painters wanting to brush up on making objects appear real. A list of required supplies will be provided prior to the first class.
Date & Time: Wednesdays, October 21 to November 25*, 9 a.m. – noon
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode #3615769
Fee: $110 (5 week program)

 

Dynamic Darkness: Pen and Ink Illustration

Dark, delicious and detailed; ink drawings can be simple or complex and infinitely interesting. In this course, learn a wide range of ink drawing techniques and styles. Perfect for those with interests in drawing, design and illustration.  A list of required supplies will be provided prior to the first class.
Date & Time: Wednesdays, October 21 to November 25*, 1 –  4 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode #3615767
Fee: $110 (5 week program)

*Please note, there will be no class on November 11.


Fibre Arts Workshops for Youth

Learn to Knit for Teens/Youth (13+)

Take on winter in a Handmade Scarf. In this workshop participants will learn the basics of knitting and how to create a colourful, hand-knit striped scarf. A materials package will be given to each participant, so they may complete the project at home. All level skill levels are welcome, though this workshop is geared towards youth who have never knit before. There is a materials fee of $30, payable to the instructor upon arrival.
Date & Time: Sunday, October 25, noon – 4 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode #3631786
Fee: $35/day, plus $30 materials fee

 

Punch Needle Embroidery for Teens/Youth (13+)

Learn to create an original piece of textile art using a punch needle and embroidery hoop. All skill levels welcome. Participants will be provided with complete kits, which include all the supplies needed to continue to create more embroidery pieces at home. There is a material fee of $30, payable to the instructor upon arrival.
Date & Time: Sunday, November 8, noon – 4 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode #3631787
Fee: $35/day, plus $30 materials fee


Workshops with Jennifer Town

Learn more about indigenous histories and stories with workshops by community leader and artist – Jennifer Town. All three workshops below offer opportunities to create traditional handmade artworks and learn Ojibwa teachings, narratives and traditions.

 

Loom Beading Family Workshop

Historically, beading is an important part of Indigenous culture and was part of a social pastime where friends and family gathered to bead together and shared knowledges and stories of the day. In this workshop, learn the design process and traditional techniques to create your own loom bead artwork.
Date & Time: Saturday, October 17, 1 – 4 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode #3615757
Fee: $40/day, materials included

 

Dreamcatcher Family Workshop

The dreamcatcher reminds us how important the dream world has been to people throughout time. Learn about the colourful history and the different legends during this step by step workshop. Once you have learned the traditional techniques, let your imagination soar, as you create a beautiful dreamcatcher for your family.
Date & Time: Saturday, November 14, 1 – 4 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode #3629428
Fee: $40/day, materials included

 

Leather Tooling: Bracelets and Bookmarks

Leather is a timeless material. Tooling leather is the process of cutting into the leather to create shapes and designs by using carving tools (metal stamps cast into distinct shapes), lines, grooves and patterns, are pressed, stamped and punched into the leather. In this workshop you will design and dye a personalized bracelet or bookmark to create a work that will last a lifetime.
Date & Time: Sunday, December 6, 1 –  4 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode #3615750
Fee: $40/day, materials included


Workshop Cancellation

  • Due to low enrolment by The Assembly Hall: 100 per cent refund or account credit.
  • Missed classes on the part of the student: make-up classes or account credits will not be provided.
  • Due to instructor emergencies/illness: make-up class provided. If a make-up class is provided, no refunds or account credits will be issued.
  • Inclement weather: make-up class provided. Every effort to contact students will be made. Students are encouraged to call for information.
  • Statutory holidays: make-up class provided.

Please note, if a make-up class is provided, refunds or credits will not be provided.

Withdrawals, Refunds and Credits

All registration cancellations/withdrawals must be initiated in writing prior to the start of the workshop’s second class. No refunds or credits will be considered after this date. Withdrawals will be prorated based on the date of the withdrawal, not based on attendance in the program. A $12 administration fee will be deducted per person, per workshop for all refunds, withdrawals and credits.

Materials

Materials are not included in adult course fees unless stipulated in the program description. Please inquire at The Assembly Hall Office or with your instructor for supply lists.

Since 2009, By The Lake Book Club has featured a diverse group of over 50 Canadian authors, sharing their latest works to readers in West Toronto and beyond. The series is held at and presented by the Assembly Hall, in partnership with Humber College Faculty of Media & Creative Arts and the Toronto International Festival of Authors. With six monthly Tuesday evening events from September to April, By The Lake Book Club differs from other book clubs by having the author present – reading excerpts from their recent novel moderated by a seasoned Humber writing instructor; with audience questions, lively discussion and book signings. Some past authors include: Kim Fu, Lawrence Hill, John Irving, Vincent Lam, Monia Mazigh, Alistair McLeod, Eva Stachniak, Tanya Talaga and Miriam Toews.

In 2020, under COVID-19 restrictions, By The Lake Book Club offered its first virtual event with Author Anar Ali and can be viewed online for free.

The Performance Hall and Community Rooms are ideal spaces for events ranging from small meetings and workshops to performances, weddings, film shoots and conferences. For information on the wide array of public events held at the Assembly Hall, please visit Exhibitions & Events.

For information on how to book the Assembly Hall for your event, please call 416-338-7255 or email assembly@toronto.ca.

Floor plans of event spaces

Browse the Assembly Hall Exhibitions & Events Calendar.
Assembly Hall can be rented for a variety of functions.

 


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Collection Notice: Personal information provided is collected under the authority of the City of Toronto Act, 2006. The information is used exclusively by Assembly Hall staff to process email subscriptions. Questions about this collection can be directed to Community Cultural Coordinator, The Assembly Hall, 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Toronto M8V 4B6, phone: 416-338-7255 or email: assembly@toronto.ca

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