Toronto’s Iconic Gladstone Hotel to Reopen with New Name and New Look

It’s time to say goodbye to the quirky old Gladstone hotel we all knew and loved.

The drab melodic bar where tipsy locals sang karaoke, the charming retro wood-paneled lobby, even the name of the place itself – all will be memories when the mainstay of West Queen West reopens as “Gladstone House“Later this year.

This was to be expected when the historic building was purchased by the same developers behind the recent Glow of the Broadview Hotel.

The new Gladstone House will actually serve as a “sister property” to the Broadview, according to Streetcar Developments; a western equivalent of the strip club boutique hotel turned candle on Queen Street East.

The historic Gladstone Hotel, built by architect GM Miller in 1889, is one of the oldest buildings still operating as a hotel in Toronto. Photo of Hector Vasquez.

Scheduled to open to the public on a phased approach in September 2021, the Gladstone, 132 years old will be a little different in its new iteration – although the name actually harkens back to when it was still a dilapidated old rooming house, before some major Y2K renovations.

“The new name pays homage to the original ‘Gladstone House’ engravings on the stone exterior of the building, adding a slice of history to the modern reinvention of the space,” Streetcar said in a statement the announcement of the new name on Monday morning.

“Located in West Queen West, one of Toronto’s most creative neighborhoods, the reinvented monument will maintain the focus on culture, art and diversity, while ensuring the preservation of the rich history and iconic original architecture of the building.

The development company promises that the place will continue to serve as the “cultural pulse of the city” but “with even more exciting new offerings”. It goes without saying that these offers will probably also be more expensive.

gladstone house toronto

The new ‘Bistro Bar & Cafe’ will be a more elegant version of the on-site cafe and bar. Image via Streetcar Developments.

New images released by Streetcar show what we can expect in terms of how Gladstone House’s public spaces look: lots of scribble word art and hot pink neon lights.

“Designed by internationally renowned Elastic interiors, guests will be delighted with unexpected and modern elements, contrasted with colorful contemporary works of art to provide a unique and elevated experience, ”writes the developer.

“The famous boutique hotel, steeped in history, features restored exposed brick walls and innovative lighting applications that evolve throughout the day, bringing the building to life.

As a historically designated property, the Roman Revival style building constructed in 1889 can only be legally altered to a certain extent. The exterior will have changed little, if at all, when the venue reopens this fall, and the iconic Victorian “Gladstone Cowboy Elevator” – one of the last manual elevators in Toronto – will remain in place.

gladstone house toronto

The Melody Bar will retain two historic pillars, the only ones of their kind in Toronto, restored long ago in true European fresco technique. Image via Streetcar Developments.

There aren’t any visuals yet to show what the (already artistic enough) hotel rooms will look like when reopening, but the designers seem to have gone in a darker, darker direction for the adjacent Melody Bar.

The works on display in the bar and hotel in general were purchased by local artists, of whom around 500 submitted pieces in an open call in November 2020.

A panel of jurors have selected more than 50 works, which will be part of an art installation in each of the hotel’s 55 rooms and surrounding public spaces, according to the developers.

A few months before the public launch, Gladstone House opened its online room reservation system and event reservations today. Reservations can be made from September 2021.

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