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Visiting Toronto, Ontario and the Gladstone Hotel, Queen Street West: in Romanesque Revival style, dating from 1889

Updated on November 11, 2015
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto | Source
Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

Period architecture in Ontario's capital

This solid, Victorian-era building in brick, located in Toronto, Ontario, dates from 1889 (1).

Some history and features

The architect responsible for the Gladstone Hotel was George M. Miller, who also designed many other public buildings in Toronto.

The building is located at 1214 Queen Street West, in Toronto's suburb of Parkdale.

So, then, the hotel must be named for British Prime Minister William Gladstone, then? Well, yes, and no. Indirectly, yes. But in fact, the building is located at Queen Street West's intersection with Gladstone Avenue.

The style employed by Architect Miller was Richardson Romanesque, which was greatly in vogue during a relatively brief period at the end of the 19th century.

Characteristics of the Romanesque Revival included the use of Romanesque (or Syrian) arches, rustication and conical towers; and, certainly, Architect Miller overtly executed the first two of these features at the Gladstone Hotel. Some of the windows and the entrances to the porches include arches, some of which are very pronounced. Rustication features are visible below many of the windows, especially at the larger windows in the tower. In the shaping of the bay windows and the eves a conical element is at least present, also.

Previously, a cupola topped the corner tower of the hotel, although this was removed over 70 years ago. Noted interior features of the building include quality plaster moldings and faux marble pillars.

On a much smaller scale certainly, it shares with Toronto's Royal York Hotel and various other Canadian hotels an early history bound up with the railroad: the now closed Parkdale Railroad station was formerly in close proximity to the Gladstone.

An historical plaque by the Toronto Historical Board refers to the name of the original owner, Mrs. Susanna Robinson, and the fact that she had 13 children.


(1) It is interesting to reflect that in 1889, Confederation was only 22 years old, Canada's First Prime Minister, Sir John MacDonald was still occupying this office, and long-serving Premier of Ontario, Sir Oliver Mowat, would continue in office for several more years.

Also worth seeing

Other noted Toronto buildings on Queen Street West include Campbell House and Osgoode Hall. Also on Queen Street West, Old City Hall is another example of Richardson Romanesque.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available; visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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