Skip Navigation
Ahead of the Curve - FeaturedImage_Interior-Lounge-at-Verity-in-Toronto

Ahead of the Curve

The Verity Club was created for women, by women, with interior design to match.


Photos courtesy of: VERITY

The private club opened its doors 21 years ago as a space for some of Toronto’s most innovative, creative and powerful women to connect personally and professionally. It was a venue for coworking before working from wherever was a thing. For founder and CEO Mary Aitken, it’s always been about fostering a space away from the corporate world, one where connections are easily made, but one that also allows for privacy when needed.

Harvey Cowan, the architect behind the interior of the restored historic chocolate factory—which now houses amenities like an ozonated pool, a Pilates studio and a library—was a personal friend of Aitken’s. “I said to him, ‘This needs to be a place where everybody’s not visible,’ ” Aitken explains. “The task was to create spaces that, through the nature of their design, gave members privacy.”

Indeed, the members’ lounge curves in a way that creates nooks for private conversation between spaces for socializing. The flow of the three-level club is almost instinctual, a natural progression from short-term workspaces like “the perch,” which features bar seating at the top of a staircase overlooking Queen Street, to enclosed offices for those who need to concentrate or make confidential calls, to event spaces, such as the Toronto room, where member lunches and dinners and the club’s twice-monthly speaker series occur.

“The task was to create spaces that, through the nature of their design, gave members privacy.”

Ahead of the Curve - 2_Secrette-Speakeasy-Bar

Secrette is the French-inspired speakeasy above the Michelin-recognized restaurant George, featuring small plates and blood orange and elderflower foam-topped cocktails.

Ahead of the Curve - 3_-George-led-by-executive-chef-Lorenzo-Loseto

Led by executive chef Lorenzo Loseto, George opened its doors (sourced from Les Puces flea market in Paris) in 2003

Ahead of the Curve - 4_Sweetgrass-Spa-pool-in-Toronto
Ahead of the Curve - 5_Verity-Members-lounge-with-pinks-purples-and-natural-hues

Sweetgrass is one of Toronto’s few women-only spas. Pinks, purples and natural hues distinguish Verity’s spaces.

“We just had Wes Hall here,” Aitken says of the entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den personality, “and Carolyn Bennett is going to speak on International Women’s Day.” The politician was one of the club’s founding members.

Not all of Verity’s 65,000-square-foot space is just for members. The club includes several spaces open to the public: George, a Michelin-recognized restaurant known for its tasting menus; Secrette, an intimate cocktail bar hidden on the club’s top floor; Sweetgrass Spa, which offers a full menu of facial and body treatments; and The Ivy at Verity, a four-suite boutique hotel.

For members, they’re connected through the club, while the public accesses each through a separate entrance. And through design elements, they all call back to each other. Thick wooden French doors in George, which Aitken found in Les Puces, the well-known flea market in Paris, echo an antique armoire in the members’ lounge that she brought back from the same market. “Not at the same time,” she says.

The colour scheme throughout the club, hotel and Secrette includes bright pinks and purples, with natural hues like terracotta and stone intertwined for balance, and there are loads of floral prints. “Toronto has a lot of months that are just grey. I wanted this to be a place where you came in and it was like a warm embrace as you entered,” Aitken says. Artwork adds more colour to the space, much of it by members, who are invited to display pieces for sale.

Aitken conceived of Verity, which operates as a not-for-profit, as that all-important third space, a place away from home and work. “I always like to think of what happens in that space,” she says. “It’s not just a third space to sit, read a book or the paper, and savour a glass of wine. It’s the connection, the new ideas, the businesses that are started.”

Ahead of the Curve - 6_Historic-Queen-East-Toronto-building

Verity is tucked into a historic Queen East Toronto building. Founder Mary Aitken envisioned it as a “third place” and community for women to find professional and social supports and balance.

Form Template
Select a Form Template
Available fields in the selected template:
Templates Library
Loading, Please wait...
The Library cannot be open, please try it again later.
SQ. FT. total GLA
Suites available
Suites available
This field is required.
Invalid email format.
Some of the fields are not filled or invalid.