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Visiting the Drake Hotel, Toronto, Ontario: dating from 1890, with a Neo-Classical frontage on Queen Street West

Updated on March 6, 2013
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
The Drake Hotel, Toronto
The Drake Hotel, Toronto | Source
Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

A fine, architectural fixture in a changed district

(NB: The content of this hub is restricted to some historical perspectives of this building, the Drake Hotel, in Queen Street, West, Toronto. Readers wishing for information about the services of this hotel should direct their enquiries to its management.)

This stately-looking stone frontage in basically Neo-Classical style belongs to what since 1949 has been known as the Drake Hotel, but it has been a presence in the Parkdale suburb of Toronto since the end of the 19th century. The building dates from 1890, when it was called Small's Hotel.

There is a strong three dimensional feel to the Queen Street frontage of the building, and this would be for a number of reasons. Upper storeys are set back from the sidewalk, leaving the first storey, the subject of more contemporary development and refurbishment, to extend forward. The neo-Classical, pronounced, overhanging eves of the Queen Street frontage are complemented by Syrian (or Romanesque) arches at 4 of the 8 front windows. This Syrian arching style also extends to the side windows of the property, with upper level dormer windows set in mansard roofing.

Parkdale formerly had a railroad station of its own and this was situated a short distance from what is now the Drake Hotel, and, like the Gladstone Hotel, this Hotel benefited from the station's proximity.

Parkdale was formerly regarded as a fairly affluent suburb of Toronto. Changing, urban demographics did not leave the Hotel unaffected (1). Today, the Hotel with its restaurant, music and art exhibition events tends to have more of a young people's aura.

The Drake Hotel is situated at 1150 Queen Street, West, Toronto, Ontario.

February 9, 2013


(1) Urban planners and historians speak of the trend to the gentrification of suburbs. Well, if anything, the opposite occurred with Parkdale, a major artery of which is Queen Street West. It would in any case be accurate to say that the often younger clientele who frequent the many restaurants, boutiques and artistic establishments on Queen Street West would be indignant if anyone thought they might be in some way susceptible to some influence described as gentrification! The streetcars which regularly disgorge the younger citizens of Toronto to the Street's numerous establishments would be bringing them a far more avant-garde clientele than that with which Parkdale's staid, earlier inhabitants would have identified. This younger culture would thus form the general background to today's Drake Hotel.


Also worth seeing

On Queen Street West. Toronto, the Gladstone Hotel is another Parkdale suburb historic building with interesting architectural features; other significant buildings on Queen Street West include Osgoode Hall and Campbell House.

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. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for recent information. Citizens of certain nationalities may need to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to them.

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

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