Here's a brief overview of all the venues we've looked at so far, with annotations from my notes.
Edited by RikkAndrsn - 2/28/16 at 9:25am
- Airship 37
Total sq. ft. for this venue is about 4,000 (when using the patio as well). Used for the first OCN Toronto event in June, 2012. Unfortunately the venue sits about 1 block from the nearest cable or fiber hookup. Rogers quoted at over $15,000 for just the installation of either fiber or coax based broadband even before the yearly charge. First event here more or less maxed out its potential, as we have no additional room to grow. Very hard to find parking.
- Berkeley Church
Location is an old converted church. Claim to be around 15,000 sq ft but usable space is probably much smaller (two floors, awkward pillar spacing etc). Very unique venue, Admin likes the looks very much. Fortunately lies on the coax path and has existing cable internet service, which would let us use Rogers Small Business with 150/10 (up/down). Space for generators and ample parking. Unfortunately a very busy venue.
- 99 Sudbury (Gallery)
Very suitable venue with about 5,000 sq ft. of space. High ceilings and open, flexible space. Ample outdoor room for generators and enough parking for attendees. Venue rental fee is reasonable but when they came back to us with their quotes on power and internet they were the highest quotes both myself and Admin had ever seen (we could have bought the equipment ourselves for what they were asking). This was the intended venue for our ill fated March event before talks fell through.
- The Warehouse
This was the other proposed venue for our March event that never was. 9,000 sq ft for multifunction space and a 3,000 sq ft cocktail lounge. We obtained initial quotes but I'm unsure if Admin ever dug deeper with them as he was pretty set on 99 Sudbury. Venue has existing broadband service and can be upgraded to the Rogers Small Business 150/10 if I remember correctly. Located in Downsview park area, so fairly central to the GTA and accessible by multiple highways.
- The Hangar - Downsview Park (Ball Hockey rink)
Certain events like Toronto's old Zero Ping Events made use of hockey arenas during their off season, using the high on site power normally dedicated to AC to power a LAN. Obviously, it's fairly hard to catch this kind of opening. Downview runs ball hockey throughout the year from our talks with them rendering renting this place on a Saturday/Sunday almost impossible. Their ball hockey rink would give us 17,000 sq ft of usable space and there is a sports bar which does catering and stuff nearby. Power could be brought in through generators, I think I remember them having only a 480 amp 3 phase built in breaker capacity. At least half of that is probably dedicated to the AC as it's a big place.
- Movie Studios - Downsview Park
There are, or were, 3 movie studios at Downsview Park. The original quote I received for them was for a 27,000 sq ft facility which has since been removed, leaving only a 44,000 sq ft and 50k~ish sq ft, both of which are far larger than we can effectively use.
- Pinewood Toronto Studios
I may be pretty biased, but this is my current favorite prospect venue. Each stage has a huge power capacity totally negating our need for a generator unless we try to totally fill up the available space. The entire location is also set up with a scalable internet connection and on-site 10 Gigabit fiber. Even if we get a quote from here that's more expensive than a smaller space we may end up saving a huge amount of money. Unfortunately the smallest stage is 10,000 sq ft (more than double what we need).
- Artscape Wychwood Barns
Almost 8,000 sq ft location with in a huge straight line. The facility is used as a staging ground for small non-profit organizations and artists, ran like a co-op. We haven't gotten a quote yet but the only negative feature so far is that they have a 11 PM limit to all events. I've been pushing Admin to go to a two day format for a while now to give us more time to do more fun LAN activities (and not be as cramped for time) and this may be the venue to make that happen. I would imagine there is on-site internet of some sort and it's in a residential area so we could clearly patch in if need be. There is lots of parking around and we could hopefully bring in some generators. I was so excited when I found this venue I literally did floor plans for potential layouts right away.
- Evergreen Brick Works (Holcim Gallery)
Pitched this venue to Admin maybe two weeks ago and he likes the site. If we're lucky there's internet there. It's in the middle of the Don Valley and I know a lot of the Bell and Rogers fiber runs right through there along the train tracks but that doesn't mean they've actually hooked anything up in the area. Electricity would almost certainly need to be brought in by generators. Not sure if we'd even get air conditioning here as it looks pretty open air. By the end of the day we might be pouring liquid nitrogen on ourselves to keep cool.
- Toronto Congress Centre (Cohen Ballroom and the giant unnamed one)
The Cohen ballroom is an almost 10,000 sq ft space at the TCC. Site likely has a scalable internet connection but we've never pursued a quote here. We have the option to expand here as well as there is an attached room called the Courtyard which could provide an additional almost 5,000 sq ft. Lots of nearby hotels, restaurants, and transportation. There's also a 30,000 ball room which looks amazing and could provide for a mean LAN party. I doubt the TCC will be OK with LN2, however, making it less attractive as a venue for us.
- The International Centre
I know from E-Sports Canada's work with last year's NASL finals in Toronto that the International Centre's hall 3 and 4 are very suitable for gaming. High ceilings, ample parking, and on site internet are all there. Power can be brought in with generators. Hall 5 is the wet dream of a LAN party planner. It's 100,000 sq ft so we'd need to grow even larger than QuakeCon to use it. I think I did a mock layout as a joke and was able to set up just under 5,000 seats. OCN Toronto #1 LAN Party NA 2020
- Steam Whistle Brewery
4,000 sq ft space in a brewery. Personally, I took one look at this venue and decided it looked bad for a gaming event. Sure, it's really cool but at the same time it's in a non symmetrical layout and has pillars. That reduces the useable space by a lot, and not in a good way. There is probably on site internet in some way and it's right next to the damn Rogers Centre so I can't imagine we'd be unable to drop in a fiber line but at the end of the day it's just a weird venue to try and pull off this kind of event. This was a venue we tried to get for March and failed to get, and we tried to get it for June/July and failed again. Call me crazy but the more the venue looks like a basement the better it usually is for a LAN party.
- Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Might as well list this as we did look at it. The rooms are all too big, it's too expensive, and power would be a real struggle. We can dream, can't we?
- Exhibition Place
Yes, we looked at the Direct Energy Centre and Better Living Centre. Pretty much the same case as the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. As an added perk if we ever have enough money to do an event here we'll take everyone out to Medieval Times for dinner AND pay the full Game of Thrones cast to come re-do the first season live.
Edited by RikkAndrsn - 2/28/16 at 9:25am