Monday, August 4, 2014

Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Our World Tuesday

July 2014 - Toronto ON

The Gladstone Hotel is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Toronto. It was originally built in 1889 as a stylish hostelry across from the then existing Parkdale railroad station which serviced the Grand Trunk, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and the Canadian National Railway (CNR) companies. In addition to serving the three major railway companies at the time it provided visitors attending the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) to have a place to stay.

The original owner Susanna Robinson was a widow who operated and lived at the hotel with her 13 children.

The Gladstone was named for Gladstone Avenue, which was named after British prime minister William Ewart Gladstone. The hotel's monthly newsletter, the Gladstone Bag, is named for the suitcase style, also named for William Gladstone.

The Gladstone was one of the first ten hotels in Ontario to receive permission to allow patrons to drink and play shuffleboard in a licensed alcoholic area. At one time the Gladstone Hotel was the last place to obtain hard liquor before reaching Hamilton.

A report appeared in the Toronto Star on October 3rd, 1911, indicating that the Gladstone was soon to become the property of an incorporated company. The owner at that time was Mr. Victor E. Gianelli Interviewed by the Star, Mr. Gianelli stated that the deal had not yet been closed, but the plan was to increase the size of the hotel and improve the facilities.

An article published in the Star on December 27th, 1912, indicated that the Gladstone Hotel had changed hands, and that the Gladstone Hotel Company, of which Mr. Thomas Slattery was manager, had purchased the Gladstone hotel property from Mr. Gianelli for $110,000. Mr. Slattery had earlier purchased the license for $60,000. It was reported that extensive alterations were to be made to the property.

Throughout the years the hotel was tossed from owner to owner and gradually deteriorated in both status and physical appearance. In 2000 a group of developers decided to attempt to rescue this once-luxurious hotel. The Tippins and the Zeidler family combined forces in the attempt, but arguments regarding how to approach the restoration project began between the two families resulting in the Zeidlers ownership of the hotel in 2002.

The Gladstone Hotel is still owned by the Zeidler family. Their historic restoration of the property reflects the hotel's architectural and community history. Eberhard Zeidler was the architect involved while resigning for his two of his three daughters, Margie and Christina. Margie Zeidler originally bought the hotel and made arrangements to have her sister manage the hotel. Christina Zeidler's personal philosophy of how a hotel should fit naturally with the existing community has definitely manifested itself in the case of the Gladstone Hotel. The owners invited local artists to compete in a competition. The main objective was to create a functional hotel room that brought in a main concept or idea. The result was 37 one-of-a-kind hotel rooms from the winning proposals.

The Zeidler family was concerned about the well-being of the existing residents of the hotel and took an interest in supporting them and helping them find new homes in the community prior to beginning the restoration project. The family provided financial support and the employees at the hotel worked to find homes for the most elderly and at risk. Some of the former residents now live at the Parkview Arms Hotel, down Queen Street beside Trinity Bellwoods Park.

The Gladstone kept its bar and event venue spaces open and operating throughout the restoration process in order to maintain community and neighbourhood connections.

In 2004, the Gladstone began hosting Come Up To My Room, an alternative design exhibition showcasing new and established local art/design talent, co-founded and co-curated by Christina Zeidler and Pamila Matharu. It is run annually as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, during Toronto Design Week. For the eleventh edition (Jan. 2014), CUTMR was billed as "Toronto’s largest alternative design show.

The upper three floors are used to display local art in the common areas.


  1. What a lovely old hotel. I am glad it is being renovated.. I hope they keep the old charm of this building.. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

  2. It really is a place with such character. Beautiful shots!

  3. Love this place! I never stayed there, but I did a tour once and got to see a few of the rooms. So unique!!!

  4. It's always fun to wander in there!


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