toronto hotel waverly

The Silver Dollar & Hotel Waverly could be demolished

The 113-year-old Hotel Waverly, the faded historic building at College and Spadina, could be knocked down along with the Silver Dollar music venue to make way for new student accomodation under plans by The Wynn Group, a Toronto-based rental group and building developer.

If the project gets the green light, the Silver Dollar will get an all-new venue on the ground floor of the 20-storey building. The haggard and insalubrious hotel that dates back to 1900 wouldn't come back.

As currently proposed, the 14,676 square-metre, 20-storey tower would include 202 rental units targeted specifically at students and 1,622 sq. m. of retail space at ground level. The 2nd floor will host a "boutique" version of a Wynn Group fitness studio.

toronto waverly hotel

"It's a wooden structure so we have a lot of issues," says Paul Wynn from the Wynn Group of the Hotel Waverly. "We would rebuild the Silver Dollar, that's our intention, and build student housing above it."

"Instead of having the steps going up as you have now it would just be one main level. The same room basically, of course improvements: better equipment, a higher ceiling and it will be all open instead of a break as it is now."

The at-grade retail level will also be home to a small juice bar branded with the fitness studio.

The Wynn Group has owned the Hotel Waverly - previously spelled Waverley - since 1985. Wynn says the company has been talking about building something on the site for "1,000 years at least." He settled on the idea of student apartments when his daughter struggled to find a place to live while studying at the University of Toronto.

The current specifications call for 70 below-grade vehicle parking bays and 202 bike spots. Five ring and post spots will be provided outside the new Silver Dollar and gym. A loading bay and access to parking will be built off Douglas Campbell Lane behind the current hotel.

toronto waverly hotel

The kindest thing you could say about the Hotel Waverly is that it has a strong reputation. A former resident reached out to blogTO in November alleging regular disputes over rent and other charges, issues related to hygiene, and various other safety concerns. The claims were never verified.

The building at 484 Spadina opened in 1900 offering "pleasant, homelike accommodation" and is one of the city's oldest continually operating hotels. Canadian poet Milton Acorn lived there for many years and it's rumoured Martin Luther King's assassin James Earl Ray stayed there while on the run from cops in America, though he claimed in 1993 he had never heard of the place.

In popular culture, the historic building has provided a backdrop in the movie Killshot and a couple of music videos.

Wynn expects it to be at least two to three years before anything happens. "If I had a magic ball, I'd tell you," he says. "We'll take our time on it and see what happens."

What do you think of the designs? Do you think the Hotel Waverly building should be saved and incorporated into the tower or has it been neglected for too long?


toronto waverly hotel

Plan of the proposed 70-metre tower.

toronto waverly hotel

The view down Spadina from the north.

toronto waverly hotel

The view northeast from College west of Spadina.

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

Images: The Wynn Group/Kirkor Architects and Planners, Peter Grevstad/blogTO Flickr pool.

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