New developments on Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue have been slowly transforming Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood, from the gradual additions of indie boutiques (Empire by Bullet, the Arts Market) and restaurants (Tabule, Ruby Watchco) to the huge new revitalization of the Broadview Hotel.
The Broadview is nothing if not a historic fixture in Riverside—it was originally built in 1891 and used for offices and public assemblies until 1907, when the seven-story structure was transformed into the first incarnation of the Broadview Hotel (then called the “New Broadview”).
Over the years, the hotel’s character changed—to wit, in the seventies, locals knew it as the home of Jilly’s strip club. But Streetcar Developments and its partner Dream have spent the last three years bringing the red brick building back to its Romanesque Revival roots.
The Broadview Hotel is now a 58-room boutique property crafted by DesignAgency. Its interior evokes Victorian touches with a decidedly modern twist (the staff, for instance, is outfitted by Kit and Ace). The main floor features a welcoming small reception, with brass elevator doors framed by a black geometric installation by artist Rob Baytor constructed from the building’s original fire escape ironwork.
The light-filled Café + Bar features a blue patterned wallpaper, a reproduction of original wallpaper discovered during restoration. Blonde wood bentwood chairs and marble tables cluster around the circular bar, which transitions from serving coffee and light bites by day to become a raw bar, pouring champagne and cocktails for cinq à sept and evening.
The use of brass throughout the hotel, from underfoot on the main floor to luggage cart (and brass poles in some suites) is a nod to both traditional hotel style and to the buildings exotic past occupants. The main floor will also include soon-to-open Civic Restaurant, overseen by executive chef John Sinopoli and Eric Joyal, formerly of Riverside’s Table 17.
Suites are simple and elegant: black and white tile and marble bathrooms are stocked with Graydon Skincare amenities, while king-sized beds custom designed by DesignAgency are flanked by a deep blue sofas and dramatic floral wallpaper by House of Hackney. Toronto’s Good Neighbour general store provides a curated mini bar selection, while Tiny Record Shop offers a selection of vinyl for the in-room turntable (guests can peruse the house collection to spin during their stay).
Up on the seventh floor, the Rooftop bar has many options for lounging. The north atrium, with glass walls and topped with a pyramid skylight, is decorated with hanging plants, green velvet low-slung couches, and banquettes. The centre bar is a hive of activity, serving patrons inside and out. Garden-style outdoor seating on the southwest corner offers views of the downtown Toronto skyline, a rare sight in a neighbourhood where most buildings are low. Be sure to visit the individual powder rooms, which feature a naughty wallpaper in homage to the building’s recent past. The Rooftop also features the Tower, a private dining room on the southeast corner of the hotel, housed within a turret restored to its original 1891 state.
For a different kind of view, Tatar Art Projects and Project Gallery have curated the hotel’s art with a focus on Canadian artists. Take the stairs for a visual history lesson of the hotel—artist group Supermilk illustrated iconic moments from the building’s 126 years on the stairwell walls, from its original construction to the high heels of Jilly’s.
It turns out, Riverside’s new hub has been there this whole time.
The Broadview Hotel, 106 Broadview Avenue Toronto, Ontario 416-362-8439.
Photos by Worker Bee Supply.
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