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10 great ideas for corporate events and after-work social functions in Toronto

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / July 14, 2014

corporate events torontoCorporate events and after-work social functions can be awkward. There's always that one co-worker who gets belligerently hammered, you have to pretend to like your boss more than you usually do because they're buying you dinner, and you have to behave (and wear pants) during what would normally be your free hours. No one can possibly relish this kind of extended work life culture, which is not exactly mandatory except for the fact that you'll never be promoted if you don't show.

What I'm getting at is that in Toronto, there are plenty of actually fun options for after-work social functions and corporate events. Here are my top picks.

Go to BATL
Wanna make a slightly dangerous and stupid brave decision that could help to cure your office malaise? Join the Backyard Axe Throwing League. Threaten your nerdy cubicle neighbour Frank with your axe and just see if he snipes your leftover chicken teriyaki from the fridge again. With two locations - one in the Port Lands and the other on Sterling Road.

Go bowling
Bowling as a corporate event is back in vogue thanks to Toronto's only downtown bowlling alley. And The Ballroom offers not only bowling, but a bazillion TVs where you can see SPORTS, a rooftop patio as well as a full menu of upscale-ish pub food, like braised pork pie and fried pickles. They offer corporate event rates for groups of 30 or more, with applications available online.

Have a ping pong tournament
Revert to your teen self and whip the evil secretary's butt at ping pong. Spin, just west of Spadina on King, has 12 tables and two full bars. The concept is elevated from the realm of the suburban basement by its full food menu and cocktail list, which is great since staff parties are basically unbearable without a little bit of social lubricant.

Go on a party boat cruise
Many of the city's best party boats will offer corporate rates, and can be completely reserved for private parties. The Stella Borealis and Tall Ship Kajama are two of the more popular options, the latter which could also double as a venue to host an office-wide re-enactment of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Study at the Beer Academy
The Beer Academy can accommodate up to 200 people, and it rents out space for meetings and other gatherings. They'll provide a cocktail reception post-meeting, or, you could just sign your group up for a beer tasting and education session. They also do full-on brewery tours for large groups. Finally, you can stop bullshitting about hoppiness levels and learn the FACTS.

Get creative together
The Shop does custom workshops that stress teamwork and getting to know your colleagues in a new light. Each workshop revolves around creating, designing and building projects together, and skills like wood working and ceramics are offered. Corporate rates are offered, depending on what you're looking for.

Learn some barista chops
I know very few people who get through their workday without at least one coffee. You can take your office to learn the finer points of coffee culture at the newly opened Propeller Coffee roasting facility in the Junction Triangle. Events here can be customized to include things like learning how to buy beans and roast coffee as well as more interactive elements like coffee cuppings and brew demos to inspire the top boss to now make latte art at home. Over on the east side, Pilot Roastery offers similar options.

Learn to make (and drink) some cocktails
Let's face it. The main thing that most of your co-workers are going to want to do on an office outing is drink. So why not just go right to the source at SpiritHouse at Adelaide and Portland. This classy cocktail bar doubles as the home of Toronto's top bartender training academy and for a fee will be glad to host your office group and show everyone the secret to making classic cocktails like martinis or an Old Fashioned.

Learn to cook
Instead of sitting down for a boring dinner everyone would rather avoid, make it a learning experience and figure out how to make your own amazing food. Dish cooking studio near Dupont and Spadina offers cooking classes specifically geared toward corporate team building. Up to 40 people can take the course at once, which includes wine and snacks, an hour of cooking, and then a full-service sit down dinner of your own creation. Other places that do this include Le Dolci, Viva Tastings and Mengrai Thai just to name a few.

Embarrass yourselves with some karaoke
For corporate teams not afraid to let loose, check out Bar + Karaoke, a classic, no-frills karaoke lounge at Yonge-Gerrard. They book up to 25 to a room for $50 per hour, so if you work in a larger office, at least you won't be wailing Toni Braxton in front of the entire office (but pray your office crush winds up in another room).

What did I miss? Add your ideas for corporate events and after-work social functions to the comments below.

Photo from Spin Toronto's Facebook



Ell / July 14, 2014 at 03:28 pm
You forgot "Go home, have dinner, go to sleep".
Aka 'the TO Mantra'.
Rafa replying to a comment from Ell / July 14, 2014 at 04:11 pm
I'm sorry those of us with families and children who would otherwise starve without us aren't available to keep you entertained.
okcool replying to a comment from Ell / July 14, 2014 at 04:17 pm
What a miserable thing to say. Maybe time for an internet break? Meet some new people?
StellsBells / July 14, 2014 at 05:43 pm
I already spend far too much of my life with work people. Last thing I want to do on my limited precious personal time is be around them more.
lets do / July 14, 2014 at 06:23 pm
CN Tower walk.
stonerjoe / July 14, 2014 at 06:31 pm
LAN party!
Me / July 14, 2014 at 08:53 pm
Have a "beer bin" on Friday afternoons in the boardroom. Get some music and cards going. I'm telling you? Next thing you know, you'll actually enjoy being around these people.
kempers / July 15, 2014 at 09:58 am
it's crazy how so many people work a 45 hour work week and think they have hardest, busiest lives in the world. These are great ideas thanks!

If you have no free time stop commuting 3 hours a day for starters.
kattie / July 31, 2014 at 03:31 pm
Click Here For More Information
Ana B / September 19, 2014 at 01:47 pm
I run a photography school for hobbyists in downtown Toronto and we offer a fun and exciting alternative to your traditional corporate events.

Learn photography, get creative, and have some fun with your team learning a new life-long skill.

Just recently named as one of the Top 10 photography classes in Toronto by blogTO.
Take a look: http://gtaphotographyclasses.com/corporate/
Alpha / October 14, 2014 at 10:24 am
One of the best Team building event: group drumming
Alpha / October 14, 2014 at 10:26 am
One of the best Team building event: group drumming
Ria / October 16, 2014 at 02:17 pm
Loved this post absolutely. Will definitely share it on our website and Facebook page (http://project18.in/
Marie / November 22, 2014 at 09:12 pm
Foodies on Foot is awesome: www.foodiesonfoot.ca. They've put together 3 corporate events for us and offer a lot of cool ideas. Totally found them by chance and glad I did. They've come up with something new each time to keep it fresh.
Andrew / February 12, 2015 at 11:39 am
Based in Toronto, team building provider Scavenger Hunt Anywhere offers scavenger hunts for corporate groups.
Adam / February 20, 2015 at 05:28 am
I organised a presentation evening in Chester... On a BOAT!! It was a brilliant evening!

Jack / March 16, 2015 at 04:47 pm
I would like to add one more to the pile which is a lot of fun and is based around skits used at Second City. If you like a good chuckle and having some fun try.
Marina / March 25, 2015 at 10:09 pm
How about an afternoon of real live escape games? It's an amazing team building event that brings the kid out in everyone. Escape from Dracula's Library or solve the murder mystery of Charlotte's Attic. www.CaptiveRooms.com
Samantha / March 30, 2015 at 05:15 am
Paintlounge offers great team building packages ... it's fun, creative, and gets the team working collaboratively!
friend of mini ping pong / April 5, 2015 at 02:45 pm
For another ping pong option, checkout MiniPong.ca. They can come to you and you'd probably save money on the drink and could still afford catered snacks, for those who aren't necessarily in the downtown core or for whom SPIN may or may not be the best/most affordable option.
Dave / April 5, 2015 at 04:35 pm
My staff and I do the team relay for the Mississauga marathon every year. We train together for weeks leading up and because it's a relay, no one has to run a crazy distance. brings us together and has gotten into a healthy culture at the office
vanGrey / April 5, 2015 at 05:13 pm
Thanks Friend of mini ping pong. As well as their Mobile Service, miniPong Toronto also have a weekly miniPong TUESDAYS at MAY Cafe, 876 Dundas West. They post all their events to this FB group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1483341555262890/
Peter / April 5, 2015 at 05:41 pm
Beer Academy is closed....until Fall 2015

You even have a link to their unusable website. Why? Plenty of open businesses that deserve a spot on this list
Anny / April 5, 2015 at 06:27 pm
Yep karaoke is a good one! My company brings the karaoke party to your office or to the bar of your choice. Full audio set up, pro system and host for $299 for up to 4 hours of fun! 416-731-9982
alpha rhythm roots / June 2, 2015 at 10:20 am
A great way to relief daily stress and have fun is to take an African drumming class! Very Unique and friendly folks at "Alpha Rhythm Roots". Located at Bloor and Spadina - $20 drop in, and drum usable for free - http://www.alpharhythmroots.com/GuineaRhythm_drummingclasses.html
They also organize dedicated Team building drumming workshops and ice breakers:
Jamie / August 10, 2015 at 04:36 am
nothing compares to shooting a bow and arrow for team building with Archery Tag http://www.blogto.com/sports_play/2015/07/the_top_8_archery_tag_facilities_in_toronto/
David Leese / August 10, 2015 at 07:29 pm
Bring your group to Breakout Studios on Bayview Ave and dance the night away in your own
private disco space.
Groups from 15 -200 welcome
Professional DJ's,cool room decor,lighting and staging all included.
Great for all corporate events,holiday parties and more.
David 416 787 5668
Marina / August 30, 2015 at 08:33 pm
How about ESCAPE ROOMS? Great activity for an afternoon of team-building! Captive Escape Rooms has two locations in Toronto and Mississauga. Visit our website for details ( www.CaptiveRooms.com) or give us a call (647) 345 - GAME
Katie / September 10, 2015 at 04:27 pm
Want fun, cardio and teamwork? Groups from a wide range of backgrounds from faculty members of Ryerson U. to software companies to the Ontario Centre for Classical Sports came out to experience archery tag at Arrowstorm.ca. We have a large, clean facility with a spacious lounge, and plenty of free parking. Equipment for 40 players to play one time. Non-archery tag activities for very young children to play.
Call us today to discuss booking your special event. 416-635-2866
Robert / October 16, 2015 at 10:28 am
this is awesome
Sparta / October 16, 2015 at 11:59 am
hello and this is sparta!
Roland Macrae / November 17, 2015 at 09:46 am
Indoor Beach Volleyball is a great way to spend time with co workers. North Beach has been hosting corporate events indoors on the sand for 22 years. With 8 indoor beach courts, 5 courts side patios and a great bar and restaurant we have something for everyone. Check us out if for drop - in play or make a reservation for your private courts.
Mila / February 3, 2016 at 01:05 pm
Paintball.... Want to see my manager down
freakouts / February 25, 2016 at 03:30 am
i like this team building...
Chloe / February 26, 2016 at 02:58 pm
Photography workshops are pretty fun - a switch from one side of the brain to the other, plus you get to learn something new at the same time.

steve / March 14, 2016 at 12:36 am
I host many of these events on weekends and week nights and amazing price for general public. Come on your own or with friends. Www.soulcitysocial.com
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