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The lost hotels of Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / January 5, 2011

Lost Toronto Hotels HistoricThe recent loss of the building that housed the Empress and then later the Edison Hotel at Yonge and Gould got me wondering about Toronto's other formerly grand but now inevitably lost hotels. While the Royal York, King Edward and Gladstone hotels continue to fulfill their original purpose, there are loads of structures around the city -- like the one at Yonge and Gould was until a few days ago -- that were once part of the hotel landscape that now house an assortment of other businesses. And, not surprisingly, there are plenty of other former hotels that were knocked down as the city expanded.

The original use of some of the remaining buildings is easy to identify in some cases, but more often than not, modifications over time have obscured the fact that they used to be places of accommodation (rather than restaurants or retail outlets). As such, a little trip down memory lane might offer a timely reminder of how lovely some of these buildings were and how important they remain (in the cases where they haven't already been demolished) to the city's heritage.

Some of these structures are in a sorry state, and it'd be fitting tribute to the old Empress to ensure that a similar fate doesn't befall them. For more information and additional images check out Toronto History on Flickr, which has links to Google Street View links that illustrate what these hotels look like today or what has replaced them. Lead image of the Rosedale Hotel (Yonge just south of Scrivner Square, still standing).

Empress/Edison Hotel (Yonge and Gould, destroyed by fire)
20100502-wrb1.jpg

Alexandra Hotel (demolished in the building of Nathan Phillips Square)
201115-alexandra.jpg

Walker House Hotel (Front and York streets, demolished)
Lost Hotels Toronto

Barclay Hotel (Wellington and Simcoe, demolished)
201115-Barclay.jpg

Hotel Falconer (King and Spadina, still standing)
201115-falconer.jpg

Imperial Hotel (Dundas just east of Yonge, still standing)
201115-imperial.jpg

Hotel Municipal (Queen near Bay, demolished)
201115-hotelmunicipal.jpg

Union Hotel (Queen near Bay, demolished)
201115-unionhotel.jpg

National Hotel (King and Sherbourne, still standing)
201115-national.jpg

Quigley Hotel (Danforth in between Woodbine and Main, still standing)
201115-quigley.jpg

Shamrock Hotel (Southwest corner of River and Gerrard, demolished)
201115-shamrock.jpg

Hotel Sheldon (southeast corner Victoria and Richmond, still standing)
201115-sheldon.jpg

Ocean House Hotel (At the intersection of Queen/King/Roncesvalles, still standing)
20100425-oceanhousearchival.jpg

Scholes Hotel (864 Queen St. West, demolished)
20100425-scholeshotel.jpg

Broadview Hotel (Broadview and Queen, still standing)
20101214-BroadviewHotel1945.jpg

Rossin House / Prince George Hotel (King and York, demolished for the TD Centre)
201115-Rossin-House.jpg

Dominion Hotel (Queen and Sumach, still standing)
201115-dominion.jpg

Heydon House (St. Clair Ave. West and Old Weston Rd., still standing)
201115-heydon_house.jpg

Queen's Hotel (site of the current Royal York, which it was demolished to build)
201115-queens-hotel.jpg

Images 1-18 from Toronto History (via the Toronto Archives), Heydon House by johnfitzgerald, remaining images from the Wikimedia Commons.

Discussion

58 Comments

Erika / January 5, 2011 at 09:43 am
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Most of these buildings are beautiful and would give downtown Toronto the more rooted feel that parts of other old Canadian cities still have, like Halifax or Montreal, although those continue to change as well. It's a difficult toss up between holding on to and appreciating our heritage and moving forward, if somewhat blindly, toward progress.
The Shakes / January 5, 2011 at 09:52 am
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A few more examples:

760 Queen Street East (still standing)
Parkdale Arms Hotel - Queen Street West @ Strachan (still standing)
Palace Arms Hotel - King Street West @ Strachan (still standing)
Michael / January 5, 2011 at 09:53 am
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This blog should split in two.

One blog about the goings on in Toronto.

The other one filled with masturbatory nostalgia.

The Shakes replying to a comment from Michael / January 5, 2011 at 10:11 am
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Why stop at 2 different sites? Perhaps they should have a site tailored specifically to each individual readers' tastes. Because all that wasted effort of clicking on a post that you have no interest in, is so freaking strenuous for some people.
Hi Michael replying to a comment from Michael / January 5, 2011 at 10:12 am
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Hi Michael,

Would you be interested in blogging about your own masturbatory exploits for us?
Roger / January 5, 2011 at 10:23 am
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I love the early appearance of Pacman in the signage for the Scholes Hotel.
cosmosuave / January 5, 2011 at 10:25 am
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The Dominion is still standing at Queen & Sumach since the last time I looked yesterday... Was there a fire there too?
mike in parkdale / January 5, 2011 at 10:30 am
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Great Post!

I'm very happy to see the best of the new AND the best of the old. Keep it up!
Derek replying to a comment from cosmosuave / January 5, 2011 at 10:32 am
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Yup, that was mislabeled. Fixed...
skeeter / January 5, 2011 at 10:58 am
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"i'm still standing" by elton john comes to mind.
jennifer / January 5, 2011 at 11:02 am
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The Scholes hotel was on Yonge (it was in-between those two big bank buildings that still exist just north of Queen). There's a little parkette there now!
Bex / January 5, 2011 at 11:11 am
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I love the stuff you dig up! Great seeing all these old photos and reading about Toronto's history.

Keep up the awesome work.
Mark Moore / January 5, 2011 at 11:38 am
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I think the Scholes Hotel street is a little to busy for that address back then - note the 'big' banks on either side too.
Try Yonge St. - #201 or 203.
David / January 5, 2011 at 11:40 am
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You missed the Winchester, previously the Lakeview, at Parliament and Winchester.
Tim / January 5, 2011 at 11:42 am
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Thanks for the glimpse. If I'm not mistaken, the Duke of York at Queen and Leslie might fit the category. I read recently that it might be one of the oldest TO hotels ( albeit a small one) standing today. Did you come across it in your research?
jennifer / January 5, 2011 at 11:48 am
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Another correction for you...the Rosedale hotel is not around anymore. The Flickr site link states that it was at Yonge and Shaftesbury (now home to a hideous office building). It sort of resembles the Five Thieves complex at Scrivener, though.

Amazing post, by the way, I truly love seeing these old pictures!
shannon / January 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm
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great post!
John Dough / January 5, 2011 at 01:03 pm
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Excellent post! Enjoyed it thoroughly. Loved the shot of the Union Hotel. Feels like a Robert Frank photograph.
Matt / January 5, 2011 at 01:15 pm
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Wow. The Dominion at Queen and Sumach is indeed still there, and still from Queen St., but the mansard roof and turret are gone, and the decorative bits around the windows have been stuccoed over. Unfortunate. From the Sumach side it just looks like a big brick wall now.
katt / January 5, 2011 at 01:47 pm
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these made me itchy, all I could think of is bed bugs and hookers.
ginnee / January 5, 2011 at 05:23 pm
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Don't forget the Brunny (Brunswick House, Brunswick and Bloor W). It was built as a Roadhouse in the 1870s.
Jordan / January 5, 2011 at 06:26 pm
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Although the Dominion Hotel is technically still standing, for some immensely perplexing reason it has been castrated beyond recognition. Refer to this street view angle: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&;source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Queen+and+Sumach+toronto&sll=43.644808,-79.415746&sspn=0.011847,0.023646&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Queen+St+E+%26+Sumach+St,+Toronto,+Toronto+Division,+Ontario,+Canada&layer=c&cbll=43.656717,-79.358859&panoid=cufRq1jfg4He4X8wNYFFjg&cbp=12,345.05,,0,-7.74&ll=43.655376,-79.356887&spn=0.011783,0.023646&z=16 and compare to the picture posted here. It is sickening, and entirely telling of the state of affairs of historic preservation in this city.
Larry / January 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm
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There also appears to have been a Central Hotel on the west side of Spadina south of Grange, now next to a supermarket. Or is it still a hotel of sorts?
bob / January 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm
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Is the Broadview Hotel now a strip club?
Adam Sobolak / January 6, 2011 at 07:55 am
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The Rosedale Hotel was latterly swallowed up by the Ports Of Call/Ports, before biting the dust in the 80s. (Now *there's* something desperately needing coverage in BlogTO/Torontoist/whatever: the Ports Of Call.)
Erika replying to a comment from Jordan / January 6, 2011 at 08:49 am
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agreed.
Joel replying to a comment from Roger / January 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm
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The Scholes' signage is just awesome.
Mike replying to a comment from The Shakes / January 21, 2011 at 03:00 pm
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You mean 'PARKVIEW' Arms Hotel, not 'Parkdale' at Queen Street West & Strachan (still standing)
Hotel In Toronto / April 18, 2011 at 09:11 am
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Where do people find those old photo's around toronto?
the lemur replying to a comment from Hotel In Toronto / April 18, 2011 at 09:16 am
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Mostly from the city archives site:

http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/toronto.html

sour replying to a comment from bob / April 18, 2011 at 09:56 am
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Yes, Jilly's is at the bottom of the Broadview Hotel building.
However, the upper section is now home to low income, seedy apartment dwellers.

Nothing beats walking by the entrance on any warm summers eve to see scantily clad dancers mingling with the riff-raff as they have smokes and solve the worlds problems. Its really quite the sight to behold.
Janet / May 17, 2011 at 01:54 pm
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I remember stopping at the Sentry Box bar in a hotel around University (or York) and Adelaide (or Richmond)in 1972. Is anyone old enough to know the name of the hotel that was there? Am I remembering the Prince Edward (Rossin) Hotel?
Paul / June 7, 2011 at 03:02 pm
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Major miss: the Ford Hotel on Bay at Dundas.
Janet replying to a comment from Paul / June 7, 2011 at 05:01 pm
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Thank you for straightening me out. I do remember the Ford Hotel now.
John FitzGerald / December 6, 2011 at 07:47 pm
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I have to inform you that the photo of the Heydon House is mine and used without my permission. I assume you got it from someone who failed to inform you of that. Here's the post on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jfitzg/3156821942/in/set-72157612015063992/

Send me a note if you still want to use it. I don't see it as a commercially valuable photo, but a credit would be nice. And I might even see my way clear to providing a better-edited version.
John FitzGerald / December 6, 2011 at 08:16 pm
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And I'd be glad to give you permission to use any other photo I have on Flickr as long as you let me know first and I get a credit. Until such time as you're making tons of money, of course.
. replying to a comment from John FitzGerald / December 6, 2011 at 09:12 pm
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Sorry, you post it on the internet, it doesn't belong to you anymore.
G. M. Jordan / February 25, 2012 at 03:06 pm
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The Rosedale Hotel is, in fact, no longer standing. It was renamed the Northgate Hotel in, or around the 1950's, and was demolished in the 1960's to make way for a complex of taverns and restaurants called The Ports of Call.
Kate / March 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm
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Its always sad to see that great buildings with beautiful architecture are demolished. Developers come in and buy old buildings to make way for new condos, and we call this progress ? The Toronto historical society for buildings is beginning to be a joke.
Derek replying to a comment from John FitzGerald / March 17, 2012 at 01:08 am
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Your photo has had a link back since the day this was posted. Check the bottom photo credits.
Lloyd / May 21, 2012 at 02:22 pm
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I do believe The Scholes Hotel was on the east side of Yonge street north of Queen. It later became the Colonial Tavern.
GayleIt / May 21, 2012 at 04:15 pm
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Loved your collection.
Gayle / May 21, 2012 at 07:59 pm
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Great collection and many wonderful memories.

I wondered if you would put the FORD HOTEL as part of your collection - it was opposite the Bus Terminal on Bay Street. There is also an interesting storefront on College at Ossington with the title THE LAKESIDE - was it always a cafe or was it a hotel when the Silver Slipper was still in existance.
Please keep up the research. Great!
DL / July 9, 2012 at 06:41 pm
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I am an outsider posting here, but I have a question for anyone familiar with Toronto in the 1970s.

When visiting the city at that time, I used to stay at a "Hotel Toronto"--A modern tower hotel
with a glass elevator on the side of the bldg, and a great sunday buffet too.
It was one of the tallest buildings in the city at the time.

Obviously, it has long since been re-sold, renamed, etc

I remember staying there the same night Darryl Sittler had an NHL-record 10-point game for The Leafs (we did not have tickets to the game & were doing other stuff that night).

What hotel currently occupies the same building Hotel Toronto used to occupy back in the 70s?

Aaron / August 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm
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Ironic that out of all these beauties that are gone, the Imperial in its pure ugliness is still there.
Vern / August 20, 2012 at 02:28 pm
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What about the todmorden hotel at broadview and westwood?
LS / February 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm
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@DL. Hotel Toronto is now the Hilton Toronto.
Cathy Schaffter / March 3, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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I just discovered this great gallery! Thank you SO much for the time and care you've put into it!
Michael M / March 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm
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For those who remember the 70s & 80s what was the name of the hotel on Charles st E. just east of Young st., where a unfogetable piano player used to play and sing Irish songs at the bar which was a few stairs down of it's lobby . Thanks for the nice work
Michael M / March 15, 2013 at 04:39 pm
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Ps note the new email
bob / March 24, 2013 at 08:56 pm
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Remember the Walker House. I went to "Granny's" in the late 60s and early 70s. It was a great disco lot of great times!
Petrina Steffan / May 8, 2013 at 08:41 am
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AutoGo Transport Reviews and Moving Ratings
Salvador Heutmaker / May 8, 2013 at 03:08 pm
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Altitude Movers Denver Reviews and Moving Ratings
Douglas / July 20, 2013 at 11:41 am
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re Walker House photo - some related trivia: I was working at 151 Front, which is the building to the right of it, for a while in the early 1980s. There was a parking lot where Walker House used to be by then (I don't recall hearing about the name of it at the time - someone in the office mentioned a "Bishop Straghan's Tavern" as I recall), later to be boarded up for that monstrosity which blocks the view of the lake from up University... In 1984 when I left, CN Real Estate was just talking about doing some renovations of their building to include some shops and such. I happened to be walking along Front again in around 1987, and almost marched right by 151 without even noticing it... The frontage had changed so much. I peeked inside the lobby, pointed at the security guard's desk, and said, "When I worked here, that's about where the front door was." Very interesting site you have here, thanks.
Eddie / July 25, 2013 at 06:05 am
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I'm Glad that Photographers from the Past ,, had the " Fore
Sight to Take Photos of Years Ago and Save Them for " Our
Generation " Who Cares to See Our Historic Past ,,
I " CARE " and I Say , THANK YOU VERY MUCH ,, It's "
Fantastic to See The Change over The Years ,, Thank You
Again ,, Well Done ,, Please Keep The Photos Coming,,
Sincerely ,, E.N.J. Lawrence - Thursday ,July ,25, 2013,
6:04 AM.
Tawni Gordon / September 25, 2013 at 09:27 am
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Anyone have any information regarding the Bodega Hotel, 36 Wellington St. E.? I have an interesting little artifact, but can find no history.
Patrice Barker / October 8, 2013 at 11:20 am
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The Shamrock Hotel is actually the Hotel Quigley. This was my grandfather's hotel and I believe it's still standing .It's known as The Wise Guys Tavern,today
David Beaumont / January 23, 2014 at 11:14 am
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Hi - I am writing a book about a cricket tour to Canada and USA in 1879. The cricketers stopped at the Walker House Hotel Toronto. Do you have a picture of that hotel at that time. If so, how can I obtain a copy? David

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