If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy the lavish splendour of a 19th century mansion without the cost of purchasing just such an ultra-expensive property, you’re in luck. Heintzman House, one of Markham, Ontario’s oldest buildings, just might be available to book the event of your dreams.
And yes, music aficionados, you can also indulge your passion for all things percussive as you take a seat behind one of the house’s two vintage Heintzman and Co. pianos. Perhaps that’s the best place to begin any telling of the story of Heintzman House and its significance to the community—not to mention the dozens of guests who each year rent the city-owned space for everything from weddings to corporate functions. As history buffs might already know, the Heintzman name is synonymous with high-quality piano design and construction in Toronto.
Founded by German immigrant Theodor August Heintzman and based in Toronto from the mid-1860s—legend has it he emigrated to North America alongside Henry Steinway of Steinway and Sons fame—the company would go on to produce thousands of upright, grand and player pianos that were a fixture in discerning homes across the province well into the late 20th century (and can still be found in some homes to this day). Heintzman House, also known as Sunnyside Manor Farm, dates back to the 1820s when it was constructed by wealthy loyalist George Crookshank. The Heintzman family would eventually acquire the property in 1930 after it passed through several owners, making various additions to the already impressive structure including the front pillars, servants’ quarters and a conservatory—and all in keeping with the original Georgian and Regency architecture.
“It’s all about the history here,” says Lori Caruk, a customer service supervisor with the city of Markham, in describing the house’s unique appeal. “It’s a mansion in the middle of a neighbourhood. This land was originally rich farmland in 1700s.”
Pardon the pun, but you could say the only thing growing here now are incredible memories. That’s why Heintzman House—along with its sister venue Markham Museum, which we profiled in a recent blog–is one of our favourite spaces in the Thornhill and Markham area.
The house can host up to 113 people for seated dinners and about 125 for cocktail receptions, according to Caruk, making it an ideal setting for cozier affairs. The options on that front are many. We’ll often see couples opting for a wedding ceremony on the sprawling patio before moving into the stately dining room for their reception. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, then the dining room can also be set up to handle their nuptials before being quickly transformed into a dinner venue.
Corporate clients are fans of the house’s business-friendly environment. With multiple boardrooms, a gorgeous lounge and other, smaller rooms perfect for intimate entertaining, it’s an ideal setting to conduct meetings or impress clients. That variety is also appealing to party planners looking for a spot to organize smaller gatherings such as wedding or baby showers that need a special setting without the extra square footage. Oh, and don’t forget that management takes care of everything from venue set up, to table, chair, dish, glassware and cutlery supply, while also providing free parking for guests.
Perhaps one of Heintzman House’s most appealing features is that it’s essentially an open canvas that can be transformed to suit the vision of the individual or group that decides to make it the star of their dream event. Organizers are quick to point out that they don’t double-book events such as weddings—a common challenge when using busy banquet halls or other high-demand venues—allowing for a more relaxed vibe on your big day.
“People love the house because they can bring in their own catering,” Caruk explains. “Plus, it’s pretty much theirs for the day. They can bring in their own DJs and serving staff. There’s nothing quite like it in the city.”
We love the fact that the house’s staff are always welcoming, helpful and willing to troubleshoot any hiccups that sometimes emerge while preparing for an event.
It’s important to remember that planning and staging an event at Heintzman House is like travelling back in time, but with the ability to bring in the very best catering teams the GTA has to offer. If you choose Kiss the Cook Catering, for example, that means gaining access to signature items including our barbecue menu (perfect to serve on the front or back patios), innovative food stations and elegant plated dinners that taste even better in a setting as special as Heintzman’s picturesque dining room.
Our focus is on finding creative ways to bring this grand old space to life by customizing an event plan to suit your event aspirations, while playing off its incredible history—one that can turn any function into a truly unforgettable affair.
As one bride put it in a testimonial:
“The Heintzman House is absolutely stunning, and provided a beautiful, historic backdrop for my special day. The staff at the city provided exceptional customer service and made the experience truly delightful!”
It’s easy to see why Heintzman House has been pleasing visitors for nearly 200 years. Let’s hope this building, built on the profits of a successful piano empire, keeps making beautiful music well into the next century.
To book catering for your next event at the Heintzman House, contact us now