The Symes, Toronto’s Newest Event Venue in Historical Building

The Symes Grand Opening Event

November 8, 2017 marks a special evening for 150 Symes Road, an Art Deco heritage building near Keele and St. Clair West. What made it special was the grand opening of this renovated historical building, now renamed as an event venue called The Symes.

Located in the Junction, the building was built in 1933 as one of the City of Toronto’s waste incinerators. Under the direction of Roland Cartwell (R.C.) Harris, and architect John James Woolnough, Art Deco style was selected for this industrial building.

Outside of The Symes

It officially closed down for use in 1996 when Toronto waste policies changed. Gone were the chimneys, and the building has since then served the purpose for film and television productions. It is only up until 2016 when it is decided to restore the lovely building to be used as both the venue for The Symes, and the Junction Craft Brewing company.


We were delighted to join this event to experience a bit of Toronto history, and sample food from some of our city’s finest caterers.

The venue houses two large halls. The main entrance leads you into Grand Symes which is a 5,600 square feet of space. Despite the amount of people that attended the Grand Opening that night, we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the vibrant noise. The vaulted ceilings provided a perfect space to diffuse the sound. We had live bands playing in the background, and were still able to chat with each other without the need to yell over the noise.

live bands playing

There are three skylights located in this hall which gives you a glimpse of the starry skies in the evening. I can already imagine one can dance under these skylights indoor, with the stars above you, without the need to be outside… in the prophesized cold winter!

The Grand Symes

The second level houses the 4,100 square feet Scarlett Lounge. This is our favorite hall out of the two, not just because of the Scarlett O’Hara reference, but because of the rustic atmosphere. The restoration team had used the original brick walls, metal and steel beams, and the concrete columns exposed as the interior.

Scarlett Lounge

Cocktails, Henderson Brewing Company beers and bubblies were served throughout the night with open bar. Friendly faces all around to ensure you were having a good time, and good food. Speaking of food, the evening did not disappoint as we got to sample from Toronto’s finest caterers and event service providers that The Symes partnered with.

Henderson Brewing Company special beer
Specially canned beer for the grand opening from the Henderson Brewing Company.

We started the evening sampling Poke bowls from PR Creative Caterers. Fresh Tuna and salmon were delicious and there were an abundance of them!

Tuna Poke Bowls
PR Creative – Tuna Poke Bowls – Pickled Onion, Avocado, Snow Pea Leaf, Chili Served with Vietnamese Sauce

Food Dudes had presence this evening as well serving up a Wagyu slider with parsnip soup shooter.

Wagyu Beef Burger
Food Dudes – Wagyu Beef Burger with Parsnip Soup Shooter

Drake Catering had an Asian inspired sample this evening with the Roasted Pork Belly served with a miso sauce on top of buckwheat soba noodles, along with an eggplant vegetarian option.

Roasted Pork Belly
Drake Catering – Roasted Pork Belly, Hatcho Miso, Buckwheat Soba, Korean Giariniera and Mint

We got lucky when we went to line up at Victor Dries, it was a freshly made batch of braised short ribs. We just got more and more hungry as we watched them slowly prepare the ribs in front of us.

Braised Short Ribs
Victor Dries – Braised Short Ribs with Sweet Potato, and Agro Dolce Cipollini Onion

Toben Food By Design had all the ladies going back for more. We got to admit, they did had quite an impressive display for all their dishes. We did the repeats thing too especially on those tasty chicken sausages on Fuji apple crisps.

Smoked Chicken Sausage on Fuji Apple Crisp
Toben – Artisan House Smoked Chicken Sausage on Fuji Apple Crisp, Pickled Cabbage Grainy-Dijon Mustard
Lemongrass Roasted Shrimp & Vietnamese Slaw
Toben – Lemongrass Roasted Shrimp & Vietnamese Slaw – Crispy Brussel Sprout, Carrots, Cabbage, Radish, Mango, Tomato, Pickled Chili, 5-Spice Peanuts, Crispy Shallots, Rice Noodles, Nuoc-Cham-Beet Vinaigrette
Tuna Kibbeh Nayh
Toben – Tuna Kibbeh Nayh – Ahi Tuna Tartar, Bulgar Wheat, Currants, Radish, Sumac, Chili-Labneh, House Pita Chip

There were also food from 10tation Event Catering and Daniel et Daniel.

Roast Duck Breast & Slow Cooked Leg
10tation Event Catering – Roast Duck Breast & Slow Cooked Leg
Fresh Ricotta & Orange Fritters
10tation Event Catering – Fresh Ricotta & Orange Fritters
Roast Brazino
Daniel et Daniel Catering & Events – Roast Brazino – Hazelnuts, Vadouvan, Brown Butter, Pickled Cauliflower, Cauliflower Cream

One of course needs to end the evening with desserts! Holy Cannoli from Le Dolci it was!!

Cannoli of Holy Cannolis
Stack of Holy Cannoli

We had a wonderful time and look forward to being a part of future events being held at The Symes!

Article and Photos by Veronica Chiu.

The Symes
Address: 150 Symes Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6N 0B1

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