Registration for By the Lake Book Club is now open. Learn more about the Book Club.

 

Assembly Hall is dedicated to nurturing and celebrating community, creativity and culture with arts-focused classes, performances and events. The beautifully restored building, which blends history with innovative modern design, is a favourite community-based location for meetings, celebrations and more.

General Admission

Free

Gallery Hours

Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Closed for all statutory holidays

Office Hours

Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed for all statutory holidays

Public Transit

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

By the Lake Book Club offers an inspiring season of in-person and virtual literary events. Join Humber College graduates and alumni as they dive into conversation with leading Canadian authors. This series features six Tuesday-night events, between February and December. Each in-person event includes a reading, discussion, audience Q&A, book-signing and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. Virtual events are presented with live subtitles.

The 2024 lineup includes Mai Nguyen, Kathy Friedman, Craig Shreve, Drew Hayden Taylor, Amy Stuart and Don Gillmor.

Access all By the Lake Book Club events

Tickets

  • 6-Pack tickets for all six events, February to December: $120
  • 3-Pack tickets for three events, September to December (tiered seating): $55
  • Single ticket for February, March or April event (café seating): $28
  • Single ticket for September, October or December event (tiered seating): $21
  • Virtual ticket (online viewing & audio only): $10

To book, please call Assembly Hall at 416-338-7255 during office hours.

About By the Lake Book Club

Since 2009, By the Lake Book Club has featured over 70 diverse Canadian authors, sharing their latest works with readers from Toronto and beyond. Authors who have participated in the series include Desmond Cole, Kim Fu, Michelle Good, Lawrence Hill, John Irving, Vincent Lam, Monia Mazigh, Alistair McLeod, Michael Redhill, Naben Ruthnum, Tanya Talaga, Sarah Polley and Miriam Toews. This Assembly Hall series is presented by the City of Toronto in partnership with Humber College’s Faculty of Media & Creative Arts and the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

Rakeem Hardy (they/them)

Rakeem Hardy is a black, queer dance artist originally from Mississauga, Ontario. They received their BFA and the Thayer Fellowship Award from SUNY Purchase College. There, they performed works by Ohad Naharin, Doug Varone, Sidra Bell and Roderick George. They also received additional training at the Taipei National University of the Arts and Springboard Danse Montreal where they performed pieces by Crystal Pite, Alejandro Cerrudo and Aszure Barton. Rakeem has collaborated and performed with A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Loni Landon Dance Projects, Gallim Dance and is currently a member of Kidd Pivot.

Tanveer Alam (he/him)

Tanveer Alam is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and started his Kathak training with Sudeshna Maulik and guru Sandhya Desai. Alam has performed in works by Rina Singha, Lata Pada, Padmini Chettur, Brandy Leary, Harikishan S. Nair, Sashar Zarif, Lucy Rupert and Peter Chin, to name a few. Across the 2022 to 2023 season, Alam premiered The Tagore Project (co-choreographed by Atri Nundy), at Tangente and Sampradaya Dance Creations and In Multiplicity (co-created with Nithya Garg) as a part of Nuit Blanche 2022 at Humber Galleries.

About this Residency Program

Presented in partnership with TOES FOR DANCE, this two-year program nurtures artistic development and community-building by holding time and space for dancers and choreographers to experiment, discuss and explore the art form while offering compelling artistic experiences that allow the local community to engage with the art of dance.

Learn more

The Performance Hall and Community Rooms are ideal spaces for events ranging from small meetings and workshops to performances, weddings, film shoots and conferences.

To inquire about booking Assembly Hall for your event, please complete the rental inquiry form.

Features

  • Limited free parking (50 spaces)
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Wheelchair-accessible performance hall
  • Parkland setting

Rental Details

North Community Room

  • Seminar capacity: 28
  • Banquet seating capacity: 40
  • Lecture capacity: 50

East Community Room

  • Seminar capacity: 28
  • Banquet seating capacity: 40
  • Lecture capacity: 50
  • Adjoining kitchen

Performance Hall

  • Theatre seating capacity: 254
  • Banquet seating capacity: 120

Floor plans of event spaces

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 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 Assembly Hall was to meet the social and spiritual needs of the hospital. However, because there was no comparable facility in the area, 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 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, 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. Assembly Hall is a rental facility for both public and private use.