Fairmont Royal York

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The Fairmont Royal York
Toronto - ON - Royal York Hotel.jpg
Fairmont Royal York hotel
Hotel chain Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
General information
Location Canada
Address 100 Front Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5J 1E3
Coordinates 43°38′46″N 79°22′54″W / 43.646133°N 79.381561°W / 43.646133; -79.381561Coordinates: 43°38′46″N 79°22′54″W / 43.646133°N 79.381561°W / 43.646133; -79.381561
Opening 1929
Owner KingSett Real Estate Company (60%)
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec via Ivanhoe Cambridge (20%)
Management Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
Height 124 m (407 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 28
Design and construction
Architect Ross and Macdonald
Sproatt & Rolph
Other information
Number of rooms 1,365
Number of suites Signature Rooms
Executive Suites
One Bedroom Suites
Governor General Suite
Prime Minister's Suite
Royal Suite
Number of restaurants Benihana Japanese Steakhouse
EPIC Restaurant and Lounge
Library Bar
Piper's Gastropub
York's Deli & Bakery
York's Kitchen
York Station

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel, formerly the Royal York Hotel and still often so called, is a large historic hotel in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at 100 Front Street West. Opened on June 11, 1929, the Royal York was designed by Ross and Macdonald (with Sproatt and Rolph) and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway across the street from Union Station. With 28 floors, the Château-style building was the tallest building in Toronto at that time, and the tallest building in the British Empire until the construction of Canadian Bank of Commerce tower on King Street the following year. On October 28, 2014, it was announced the hotel would undergo another round of renovations following a reorganization of its ownership.[5]

A fund managed by the KingSett real estate company will acquire a 60 per cent interest worth an estimated $111.9 million and InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:INN.UN) will pay $37.3 million for a 20 per cent stake in the hotel.

The Caisse de depot's real estate subsidiary Ivanhoe Cambridge will retain a 20 per cent stake in the 1,363-room hotel as a joint venture partner through a $186.5-million deal.


The former Queen's Hotel, demolished to make way for the Royal York.
Royal York circa 1930
Royal York exterior

The Royal York is the third hotel and one of several establishments to occupy the site.

In 1843, Captain Thomas Dick built the Ontario Terrace at this site.[6] It consisted of four brick houses, and was later occupied by Knox College, a theological school.

Following refurbishment in 1853, the building was renamed the Sword's Hotel, and then the Revere Hotel after a change in ownership in 1860. Thomas Dick bought the hotel back in 1862, renovated it again, and named it Queen's Hotel.[7]

Later, the Queen's Hotel was purchased by Thomas McGaw and Henry Winnett, hoteliers of Upper Canada, who also owned the Queen's Royal Hotel in Niagara on the Lake.[8] Upon McGaw's death in 1901, Winnett acquired McGaw's interests in their hotels. After Winnett died in 1925, his estate sold the Queen's Hotel to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), run by then-president Sir Edward Wentworth Beatty.

Later, Canadian Pacific announced its intention to demolish the Queen's Hotel to build the largest hotel in the British Commonwealth on its site. Prior to its demolition, the Queen's Hotel was billed as "One of the largest and most comfortable hotels in the Dominion of Canada."[9]

Construction on the new hotel began in 1927. The building was completed in 1929, and named the Royal York. It was a state-of-the-art hotel for its time, with ten elevators to reach all twenty-eight floors with radios and private showers and bathtubs in each of its 1,048 rooms. The telephone switchboard was 20 metres (66 ft) long, and required 35 operators. Other facilities included a bank, golf course, and a large Concert Hall outfitted with an impressive Casavant Frères pipe organ.[10] With five manuals and one-hundred-and-seven stops, it was the largest pipe organ in Canada.[10]

The hotel was enlarged during 1956-57, with the addition of the east wing which increased the total rooms to 1,600.[6]

From 1988 until 1993, the Royal York underwent a $100-million restoration that restored the hotel's original elegance. Guest rooms and public spaces were refurbished, while new amenities were added, including: a health club, a lap pool, and the first-ever American Express Travel Service Centre. As of 2015 the hotel has six restaurants.[11]

One of the hotel's larger features was the Imperial Room, a nightclub that attracted musicians between the 1940s to the 1990s, including Marlene Dietrich, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Liberace, and Tina Turner.[12] The Imperial Room closed during the major renovation of the 1990s, and when it was refurbished to become a large ballroom and meeting hall.[13]

The hotel has been the residence of choice for Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Canadian Royal Family when in Toronto. The Queen usually has an entire floor reserved for her and her entourage, occupying the Royal Suite herself.[6]

Toronto'sPATH underground walkway system connects the hotel to the Royal Bank Plaza and Toronto's Union Station.

The hotel is recognized as part of the Union Station Heritage Conservation District (Designated Part V) under the Ontario Heritage Act enacted by Toronto City Council on July 27, 2006. [14]

Honey Bees[edit]

In June 2008, the Royal York installed three beehives on its fourteenth-floor rooftop terrace to serve its in-house garden, which provides its restaurants with fresh herbs, vegetables, and flowers.[15] Approximately 350,000 honey bees provide several hundred pounds of honey each year, including 800 pounds (360 kg) in 2011.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fairmont Royal York at Emporis
  2. ^ Fairmont Royal York at Glass Steel and Stone
  3. ^ Fairmont Royal York at SkyscraperPage
  4. ^ Fairmont Royal York at Structurae
  5. ^ "Royal York Hotel to get new owners". CP24.COM. 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-12-06. 
  6. ^ a b c Royal York Hotel History
  7. ^ Filey, Mike (2001). A Toronto Album: Glimpses of the City that Was (2nd ed.). Dundurn Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-88882-242-1. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  8. ^ Appleton, D. (1898). Appleton's General Guide to the United States and Canada. D. Appleton and Company. p. 28. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Queen's Hotel". The Independent. 6 July 1914. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Marks, Christopher. "Royal York Hotel Concert Hall". Pipe Organ Database. Organ Historical Society. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "Fairmont Royal York Dining". Fairmont Royal York. Fairmont Hotels. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Teotonio, Isabel (31 July 2013). "Louis Jannetta was Toronto's maitre d' to the stars". Toronto Star. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "Fairmont Royal York Function Rooms". Fairmont Royal York. Fairmont Hotels. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "Heritage Property Detail". City of Toronto. 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  15. ^ Sibonney, Claire (8 July 2008). "Toronto hotel boasts own honey from rooftop hives". Reuters. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Fairmont's Bee Sustainable Program". Fairmont Hotels. Fairmont Hotels. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 

External links[edit]