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Global Village Backpackers building up for sale

Posted by Derek Flack / June 17, 2014

Global Village BackpackersThe Global Village Backpackers building is up for sale. Founded as the Richardson House Hotel way back in 1873, the building has also been referred to as the Falconer, the Ziegler, and later, the Spadina Hotel. With the closure of the hostel in January, the site is now on the open market. There's no established price, as the property is "being offered for sale on an unpriced modified bid basis." Just exactly how much the 130 year old building will go for is difficult to guess.

The site has been listed on Toronto's heritage registry but lacks the protected status that comes with official designation. In any case Heritage Preservation Services will be involved in any applications to modify the property. At present, the building height at 460 King St. is restricted at 39 metres, which means space could possibly be added atop the current structure.

One can only hope that someone will restore the building in the same manner as we saw with the Big Bop or, more recently, the Dineen Building at Yonge and Temperance. Given that the building has functioned as a hotel/hostel for the entirety of its existence, one can dream that it would be reborn as a boutique hotel along the lines of the Drake but with the added pomp of a King West address. Sure, I probably couldn't afford to stay at this hypothetical place, but it'd be a nice addition at one of Toronto's marquee intersections.

Photo by Chris Barker



Condos / June 17, 2014 at 11:29 am
CONDOS! CONDOS! CONDOS! Big giant 40 storey building built over the existing facade of the building similar to what they are doing all over the city, see Five Condos for example.

We preserve nothing in this City. Should have had a Toronto museum eons ago, but nope tear everything down and soon build condos on top of condos!
Cri me a river replying to a comment from Condos / June 17, 2014 at 11:34 am
wah wah wah, i hate condos ... blah blah blah. Go back to the drum circle kid.
king spad replying to a comment from Cri me a river / June 17, 2014 at 11:39 am
His point is fair given the density and lack of amenities in the King and Spadina area. Not to mention the other tower going up on Adelaide and the 3 new towers rising on Mercer.

I would value as a resident in that neighborhood a better (more affordable) market, sorry Fresh & Wild I can't afford $11 grapes.

A urban Canadian Tire like what's on Danforth/Pape could also be a welcome addition.

No drum circle here, just someone that would like more services to support the residents downtown.
cri me a river replying to a comment from king spad / June 17, 2014 at 11:48 am
There are lots of buildings in this city worth preserving, this is not one of them. Just like the Sam the Record man sign, Honest Ed's, or any obscure tourist attraction. They have no precedent on the true history of this city. We protect places like St. Lawrence Hall, Old City Hall, Osgoode Hall etc. Because they mean something to the history of the city. The old hotel is shit hole, and always was a shit hole. And you can't afford $11 grapes because they're not in season, not because they're trying to rip you off.
bernie Q / June 17, 2014 at 11:54 am
I hope a galactic condo opens with 400 sq foot hamster cage apartments in it starting in the LOW $400's Then the retailers can come into the building every part of the city needs a Subway, a Shoppers Drugmart, a TD, and something crazy and random like a Flightcenter ticket store or a frozen yogurt franchise.
cb replying to a comment from king spad / June 17, 2014 at 11:54 am
there is an urban canadian tire at bloor and dundas. maybe walmart could throw its hat into the downtown ring at this location. would be a great move imo.
Jacob replying to a comment from cri me a river / June 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm
The city's "history" doesn't end at 1899.
steve replying to a comment from Condos / June 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm
40 stories sees about right in this location. What would you like to see built here?

Noting your last couple of lines indicates you do not live in Toronto. You do not even see what you see.

jen / June 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm
This is a beautiful building. It could be restored and brought back to its original glory, same as the Big Bop, if they scrape that awful paint and siding off of it. A boutique hotel is a great idea.
Bay and Dundas replying to a comment from king spad / June 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm
There's a Canadian Tire at Bay and Dundas at the Eaton Centre, I'd consider that "in the area", if you can walk to it within 30mins we don't need another one.
Vince replying to a comment from Rick / June 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm
Love how everyone has ideas but none of us are investors or would be willing to take the business risk.

GO Ahead, get the investment and open a Vegan Market there see how well it does, or I'm guessing you want someone else to take the risk.
John Gilinsky / June 17, 2014 at 01:13 pm
Everyone should look at the latest City of Toronto master plan for the next several years: this is the very location (give or take 1 or 2 blocks) of massive 80 to 90 PLUS story high overwhelmingly office / condo towers that the city is officially welcoming for development / tax purposes. Talk of meters high becomes laughable. As to history every aspect from an architectural detail such as a door lintel window, a doorknob, a plaque, etc... are all part of our local history. Go visit Barriefield Ontario which is a suburb of Kingston Ontario to see what strict local historical conservation really successfully means. John Torontonian
suckycondominium / June 17, 2014 at 01:31 pm
We are coming to the end of our western way of life. peak oil means these condos will be full blown slums 25 years from now after the real estate bubble has burst and all hell has broken loose because 11 dollar grapes is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the everything corporate consumption lifestyles we are choosing instead of a more equitable society. for shame. i'm broke and cannot ever afford to live in these walled towers of gleaming light and steel. we're fucked. the rich get richer and the poor are starting to get madder.
adorable replying to a comment from suckycondominium / June 17, 2014 at 01:35 pm

keven replying to a comment from king spad / June 17, 2014 at 03:10 pm
How can you honestly say there is a lack of amenities at/near King/Spadina with a straight face?
Don't like Fresh & Wild, got to Loblaws or Metro or Kensington or Chinatown, to name a few.
kn / June 17, 2014 at 03:25 pm
This place is going to be bulldozed into condos, no question.

The city councillors are devoid of vision. If they really cared about building a fair and progressive process for Toronto's development, they would have hired a panel of architects and urban planners.

What we really have is councillors like Adam Vaughan. Adam spent his tenure running around pushing personal agendas and grandstanding. Oh a 20 story building at College and Spadina, that's horrible!! NOOO WAY (It's next to rich people and I don't like that developer...oh and the Waverly is a heritage site)!!! How about Honest Ed's? Oh no, we can't lose that (can we designate it a heritage site?? That way the rich people who live close by won't get pissed)!!! WTF?? a Walmart on Bathurst?? Let's freeze development on Bathurst before any of this happens (I don't think the Kromer radio building is it? how about Alex park? 20 stories? That's all good!!! In fact let's build a bunch of them and that way we can rebuild the TCHC ghetto! People in public housing need their town houses!! The gangs said no to moving, soooooo Zero displacement for Atkinson. What?? a land owner wants to renovate his property in Kensington market?? Not on Adam's watch. We need to freeze development in Kensington market!! It's a heritage site!!

Adam, is the Global backpackers building heritage??
mike in parkdale / June 17, 2014 at 04:12 pm
whatever they build, could they avoid having a left turn right before the lights?

You can't make a left during rush hour on to a street but it's okay if you're turning into a condo.
James Slattery / June 17, 2014 at 04:25 pm
Just another attack on people who don't ride the gravy train in Toronto. Very sad for this city and all travellers on a budget.
keep / June 17, 2014 at 09:34 pm
Why does everything that gets renovated or newly built have to be expensive? I am just envisioning something new in this space which will be just as expensive and inaccessible as Weslodge or Brasaii or the Drake etc...

Keep it CHEAP, whatever it ends up being! Another cheapie hostel would be great, actually. Just a few licks of paint, new furniture, and voila! An accessible lodging for travellers on a budget. :) If Kabouth opened it then he wouldn't have to care about making much money because he's minted anyway.
linden replying to a comment from bernie Q / June 17, 2014 at 10:23 pm
forgot to mention the drycleaners

Ever since I heard it was closing, everytime I pass by the building, I expect to see the development propasal sign for the next 40-story condo.
Film Pylon / June 17, 2014 at 11:56 pm
Toronto Life has an article about the boom in condo babies. Parents that can't afford a house in the city or don't want to move out of downtown. Make it a day care for all those condo babies!
Spike replying to a comment from keven / June 18, 2014 at 02:55 pm
As much as I hate to admit it, going to those places is pretty far for most people; having a supermarket or two in the area rather than a condo wouldn't be a bad idea.

As well, having a cheap place to stay would also be great, rather than the super-expensive places that are here now (and yes, even the Motel 8 in Chinatown costs too much.)
Sigh / June 18, 2014 at 03:44 pm
Guys, there is a Sobeys a couple of blocks down from King & Spadina, so you don't need to go to such horrible distances for groceries.

Now that such an important issue has been resolved, any POSITIVE comments? Any suggestions that don't hate on what type of building people live in and assumptions on the type of people they are?
shawn / June 18, 2014 at 07:36 pm
There's enough places to buy groceries in the area! Bring on a laser quest!
charlie / July 22, 2014 at 02:01 am
I lived in this shit hole for 4 +months when I came here till it closed in January it is a shit hole there is nothing nice about it it looks like a shit and it is a shit hole
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