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.
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed for all statutory holidays
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.
After all these years, Assembly Hall continues to be a gathering place at the heart of the Lakeshore, where community and creativity are celebrated and nurtured.
Stay tuned for upcoming anniversary celebrations info.
A wide variety of art classes and workshops are available through the Assembly Hall. Register online at efun.toronto.ca using a course barcode 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 clients. Staff will take all reasonable measures to accommodate accessibility needs. Please contact the Assembly Hall, 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.
By the Lake Book Club returns this fall with yet another fantastic line-up of Canadian authors. Join talented past and present members of Humber College’s faculty, as they dive into conversation with our authors, guiding lively discussions and moderating audience questions.
This Assembly Hall program is presented in partnership with Humber College Faculty of Media and Creative Arts and the International Festival of Authors.
Join celebrated journalist and anti-racist activist Desmond Cole, Winner of the 2020 Toronto Book Award, as he takes you into the pages of his book The Skin We’re In, that pulls back the curtain on Canada’s systemic inequalities. Explore this perspective-shifting book that has provoked a national conversation, as Desmond discusses his book with interviewer Joe Kertes. Event includes a reading, discussion and audience Q&A. Event link will be sent by email, a few days prior to the event date. Closed Captioning interpretation will be offered during this event.
Date and time: September 14, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode 3885502
Join Canadian author Lauren B. Davis, as she takes you on a journey of passion and compassion with her novel Even So, a story that explores loving difficult people. Lauren B. Davis’ latest novel, Even So, explores passion, guild, forgiveness and redemption, and begs to be discussed. The author will do just that, with interviewer Catherine Graham. Event includes a reading, discussion and audience Q&A. Event link will be sent by email, a few days prior to the event date. Closed Captioning interpretation will be offered during this event.
Date and time: October 19, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode 3902636
Join Vietnamese-born Canadian novelist Kim Thúy, winner of the Governor General’s Award for French-language Fiction, as she takes you behind the pages of her novel Em, a journey of enduring love. Explore this novel, as Kim discusses her book and the invincibility of the human spirit, with interviewer Alissa York. Event includes a reading, discussion and audience Q&A. Event link will be sent by email, a few days prior to the event date. Closed Captioning interpretation will be offered during this event.
Date and time: November 9, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Registration: Register online at efun.toronto.ca using barcode 3902664
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 Gallery is currently closed. Please check the Exhibitions and Events calendar for upcoming virtual events.
The Assembly Hall Gallery accepts exhibition applications for the following year with an annual deadline of June 15.
The Assembly Hall Gallery is a public gallery space owned and operated by the City of Toronto available for individual artists and arts groups. Gallery exhibitions are viewed by visual arts enthusiasts and by those at the Assembly Hall attending other events, providing a great opportunity to present the works on display to a larger community.
Hanging space allows for 40 to 60 works, depending on the size and media. There are also display cases that can be used to present 3D artwork and additional 2D works.
All decisions regarding approval of gallery applications and scheduling of exhibitions are made by the Assembly Hall Gallery Committee and staff. The Gallery Committee is committed to providing the community with a varied and quality slate of shows each year, and as such strives to present a balanced roster of exhibitions in all media and styles, from all regions and age groups.
If the artist/arts group agrees to the offered exhibition slot, a contract meeting will be arranged with Assembly Hall staff to determine all details of the booking. A City of Toronto permit will be prepared, based on the decisions from this meeting, requesting payment and signed acceptance of the permit. A deposit is due upon receipt of the permit. The fee for an Assembly Hall Gallery exhibition is $197.75 ($175 + HST). Please note, all fees are subject to change without notice.
Please return your completed application electronically to email@example.com.
If you need assistance with your submission or require the form in a different format, please contact Assembly Hall staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-338-7255.
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 email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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