More than a dozen couples have been left in the dark, and a new condo development may be in jeopardy, after a popular Toronto wedding venue abruptly shut down this week.

According to court documents, Berkeley Events, which operates the Berkeley Church, is insolvent. Msi Spergel Inc. was appointed as receiver on July 31.

In addition to the historic church, which is located at 315-317 Queen Street East, Berkeley Events also operates the Berkeley Fieldhouse at 311 Queen Street East, and La Maquette at 111 King Street East.

According to the documents, Berkeley Events, which is a collective of five companies, including 1871 Berkeley Events Inc. and 111 King Street East Inc., has been in default of its obligations to TD Bank since October 2022. The company owes TD over $10M, not including legal fees and interest.

"A review of the financial situation of the Companies indicated that the Companies have no cash resources to operate as such the Receiver will not be operating the Companies," a statement on Spergel’s website reads. "Unfortunately, this means that no events will be occurring at either 317 Queen St East or 111 King St East locations on a go forward basis. The Receiver is investigating the financial affairs of the Companies to determine the cause of insolvency and will report its findings to the Court in due course."

Between March 1 and August 30, 2023, 15 weddings and two corporate events were booked at the Berkeley Church. Between March 1, 2023, and October 2024, 105 events were scheduled across the venues. Whether those who provided deposits to Berkeley Events will get their money back will be determined by the amount of funds generated through the receivership process.

The news came as a surprise to Berkeley Events’ employees, which include 20 full-time staff and over 80 part-time workers. Michael Sherman, the Vice President of Berkeley Events, said he was “blindsided” by the company’s insolvency.

“I am deeply upset and sad to hear about the sudden closure of Berkeley Events. Berkeley Events was operating efficiently thanks in no small part to a great team of staff,” Sherman wrote on LinkedIn. “I was blindsided to hear about the financial issues facing our parent company, which owns the operating company and event venues. To everyone with a booked event: I share your shock and disappointment. We were very much looking forward to hosting you and exceeding every expectation. I hope this city’s great venues can come together to accommodate these celebrations on short notice.”

Hope may be on the horizon for those with cancelled weddings and celebrations. Spergel said it has been contacted by several venues who have stepped in to help.

Oliver & Bonacini, Renaissance by the Creek, HotHouse Restaurant, Oakdale Golf and Country Club, Fantasy Farm, and One King West Hotel & Residence have all advised they may be able to offer alternative event space.

In addition to the myriad of cancelled events, the receivership potentially jeopardizes a condo development slated for the property adjacent to the Berkeley Church.

Court documents filed by Berkeley Events in March argue that if a receiver was appointed, and the property sold, a 19-storey, 144-unit condominium tower slated for 301-317 Queen Street East could not proceed, as its approved plans and zoning involve use of the courtyard adjacent to the Berkeley Church.

If the Berkeley Church is sold without the courtyard being severed, the development would be rendered “non-viable” in the form it has been approved.

Both the development site and the Berkeley Church are currently listed for sale, for $34M and $22.5M, respectively.

Real Estate News