The Great Hall was built in 1889 by the founder of the Moore Corporation, Samuel J. Moore, Architects Gordon & Helliwell were chosen to design this four storey building. is approximately 30,000 sq ft. with a full basement. It housed the first west end YMCA in Toronto. The "Y" offered athletic facilities that included a gymnasium with a raised running track, and a basement swimming pool. Canadian native marathon star Tom Longboat worked out here when he won the Boston Marathon in 1907, as did chocolate magnate and accomplished amateur wrestler, Morden Neilson, it was also home to some of the earliest basketball games ever played in history.
In 1912 the property was sold to the Royal Templars of Temperance, who conducted business in the building until 1940's when there was a major shift in the buildings use. It was acquired by the Polish National Union, and soon, presses on the ground floor were rolling out copies of The Polish Voice newspaper. On the top floor, rooms were pressed into service as temporary shelter for Polish refugees fleeing the war in Europe.
In the mid 1980's the rumble of the presses were replaced by the sound of experimental music and avante-garde art. The Toronto School of Art eventually helped to establish 1087 Queen St. West as an important address for Toronto's arts community.
1087 Queen Street, Toronto, M6J1H3
A gem on Queen Street West, the Great Hall is as old and as classy as they come. A moderately sized venue, it stands strongly equipped with the lustre of being well over a century old and still running strong—what more could you want? A small bar in the Main Hall, a 150 seat U-shaped balcony for upper viewing and a stylish red curtain draping the edges of the stage? Cause it has all that, too. Able to seamlessly go from a back-to-school dance party one night to an intimate solo performance the next, the Great Hall has maintained its notable position by reaching out to and supporting a wide range of musical tastes, artistic endeavours and culture shows.
Tip: It can get hot inside if the crowd is right, so you might want to use some of that beer change on coat check if it's not summertime. Otherwise stick to the plan and order another Mill Street.