Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.
The plaque reads:
Named after British Prime Minister Wm. E. Gladstone, this 60 room hotel was built in 1889 adjacent to the Parkdale train stations. The original owner, Mrs. Susanna Robinson, had been left a widow with 13 children. It was designed in a decorative Romanesque style by G.M. Miller, a distinguished Toronto architect. Its three-storey steeple dominated the skyline until the 1940's. Accredited by the Royal Winter Fair, it was considered "the only safe place for one's Great Aunt to stay alone." It was originally used mostly by commercial travellers based in the heavy industry in the area. The building was restored by the Appelby family in 1989 in memory of their late father.
During the renovation, a worker inadvertently knocked a hole in a wall, revealing the stunning Otis elevator, installed when electricity reached Toronto in 1904.
It took nine months for experts to refurbish its ornate fittings and mechanical system.
In a nod to its barely bygone seediness, the Gladstone lured Hank Young from his attendant's job in the parking lot across the street, and made him the elevator operator.
With just four floors to serve, Hank had to keep his stories brief. Still, in just a couple of years, he had managed to make himself as much a fixture as the old lift itself.
They called him the Gladstone Cowboy, for the western hats (he has 20), bolo ties (45) and boots (30 pairs) he wore as a condition of his contract.