Women supporting, championing and providing inspiration in the arts

The Toronto Heliconian Club, a non-profit organization, is the oldest association of its kind in Canada, founded in 1909 to give women in the arts and letters an opportunity to meet socially and intellectually. Members range from women who have earned great distinction to those in the early stages of their careers.

In addition the Club offers many activities for members and the public, including a Concert Series, a weekly Sketch Group and monthly Art Jams.  Heliconian Hall serves as an art gallery with Exhibits by Club members changing monthly. The Club also hosts a popular Literary Lecture Series featuring Canadian writers talking about their latest work.

Part of rural Toronto when it was built in 1875, Heliconian Hall–designated a National Historic Site in 2011–is situated among leading art galleries in today’s Yorkville. Original elements of the Carpenter’s Gothic board-and-batten church and its rose window have been restored to their former glory. The air-conditioned hall with vaulted ceiling provides stellar acoustics, making the club ideal for musical and dramatic presentations. For information on renting and availability, contact the General Manager.

December 1, 7 – 9 pm: Monday Evening Art Jam “Creating Art using Novel Media”

Please join us for a visual art presentation/demonstration by renown artist and Golden Colours representative Joan Holben. Joan will be demonstrating the use of various new acrylic media in creating exciting and innovative art projects. In addition, there will be a gift for all attendees. Bring your friends, but come early because space is limited. $10 for members, $15 for non-members, includes refreshments.

November 21, 2014, 7:30pm: “Autumn Leaves” Heliconian Concert Series

Please  join us on Friday, Nov 21, at 7:30 pm for the Heliconian Music Concert Series’ second concert of the 2014-2015 season.

We will hear music to warm the soul as the days get shorter and the air gets chillier. Janet Catherine Dea, soprano, and Maria Soulis, mezzo soprano, join their voices in solos and duets with collaborative pianist, Brahm Goldhamer in an evening of Classical, Broadway and Jazz.

The first half of the programme is bookended with Mendelssohn’s charming Op 63 duets. Julian Knight joins Maria and Brahm for Johannes Brahms’ moving Op. 91 for viola, mezzo and piano and the singers then each take solo turns with autumnal songs by Tosti, Fauré and Richard Strauss to create an introspective and evocative atmosphere.

Symbolizing the brilliant colours of autumn, new Music Section member, Suzanne Yeo delights with Liszt’s sparkling “Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto, S. 434.” before we are transported with Jazz standards from “Autumn in New York” to Paris with “Les Feuilles Mortes” (Autumn Leaves).

Ending with a sizzle we find ourselves in sunny Spain with Saint-Saëns’ duet “El Desdichado” General admission $25; member/senior/student $20.

 Click here for tickets.


October 31, 2014, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm: Sharing Dance Research with the Community

Join us for a day of exciting and stimulating talks by eight dance researchers presenting their current research on such varied subjects as tap dance, zumba, dancesport, fad dance, surveillance technology, writing about dance, curating, and developing audiences. Lunch will be provided.

Sponsored by the Toronto Heliconian Club and the Graduate Program in Dance at York University, the day provides an opportunity to hear about the latest dance research, and to interact with members of the dance community.

Tickets ($20) must be purchased in advance by Tuesday, October 28 so that food can be ordered. Tickets include both entrance to the event for the full day and lunch. To purchase click here.

Friday October 17, 2014; 7:30 pm, An Evening with Jane Austen

An illustration of two Regency Ladies at the pianoThe Toronto Heliconian Club will open its 2014-2015 concert series with “An Evening with Jane Austen”, featuring a selection of music found in the Austen family collection. Musical items will be complemented by readings from Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Emma.

Performed in period costume, the programme, featuring Barbara Fris (soprano) and Dorothy de Val (piano) along with a côterie of musical collaborators, draws you into Jane Austen’s world, with a selection of musical favourites of the time, ranging from chamber works by Johann F. X. Sterkel and Ignaz Pleyel to the hugely popular and bombastic Battle of Prague by Frantisek Kotzwara.  In addition to violinist/violist Velma Ko and cellist Kye Marshall, violinist Susanna McCleary will round out the program with a performance of a sonata by Austen’s contemporary Jane Mary Guest. Songs and operatic duets by Stephen Storace, James Hook, William Jackson, Tommaso Giordani and Joseph Haydn, will be sung by Barbara Fris and Allison Cecilia Arends, with piano accompaniment by Jane Blackstone and Louise Morley, who will read from Austen’s novels between musical selections.

An informal Regency-style reception will follow the performance.


Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 students/seniors, available online or for purchase at the door.

November 1, 2014, 7 pm: Performance in the Round, An Evening of Celebration by Women about Women

Celebrating the talent of the women of the Toronto Heliconian Club, this performance will feature superb music, dance, authors’ readings, and visual art. The evening is a benefit concert in aid of Nazareth House, a non-denominational transition home for women and babies at risk in Toronto.

The evening will begin with light refreshments as we welcome our guests. Margaret Weiers will provide an informative history of the Club, sure to captivate anyone new to the Club. Among the Heliconian members performing are musicians Janet Catherine Dea, Ruth Kazdan, Elizabeth Macmillan, Barbara Hart, Dora Krizmanic and Velma Ko; and writers Ellen Michelson, Susan Viets and Mary Willan Mason. Jasmine D’Costa, Angela Blumberg, and Kye Marshall will offer us their interdisciplinary work Ekphrasis. Our visual artists will be represented by the art show By Women about Women.

This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the rich and diverse talents of our members and to learn about the life-changing work that Nazareth House does in the community. Tickets are $25, of which half will go to Nazareth House and half will go to the Club.

 Click here for tickets.