toronto silver dollar

The Silver Dollar could get heritage protection

The Silver Dollar Room could become a Toronto heritage property and be protected from possible demolition if a city report gets the green light. Heritage staff say that adding the music venue to the list of protected properties would allow the city to control alterations to the site and refuse plans that call for it to be torn down.

The report doesn't call for the Hotel Waverly, which is also threatened with demolition, to be given the same protection, however.

A plan by property owners The Wynn Group that would demolish both the Hotel Waverly and The Silver Dollar Room for student housing is currently being appealed at the Ontario Municipal Board. In January, Toronto and East York Community council rejected the proposal, saying it "does not promote a harmonious fit with the existing neighbourhood context."

toronto hotel waverly

The plans for a 20-storey tower were first revealed in June 2013. If built, The Silver Dollar Room would be given an new home in the ground floor of the building, owner Paul Wynn said at the time. Local councillor Adam Vaughan called the tower "a terrible idea."

The simple one-and-a-half storey bar was built in 1958 as a cocktail lounge for the Hotel Waverly. It became "a venue for erotic dancing and striptease" in the 1960s and emerged as an incubator for rock and blues music in the 1970s. Heritage staff say the building deserves to be protected for its association "with the development and growth of music in Toronto, particularly the genres of jazz, blues, rock and bluegrass."

The report also says The Silver Dollar Room, Grossman's Tavern, the Horseshoe Tavern, and the El Mocambo are part of the cultural heritage of Spadina Avenue and that the circular Silver Dollar Room sign is also deserving of protection.

What do you think? Should The Silver Dollar Room be protected by the city? What about the Hotel Waverly?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: City of Toronto, The Wynn Group/Kirkor Architects and Planners


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