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
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 announced Tuesday.


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

The Royal York is the third hotel to occupy the site. In 1843, the Ontario Terrace opened at this site and was renamed Sword's Hotel in 1853. The hotel was renamed again in 1860 as Revere House and finally as the Queen's Hotel in 1862.[6] Prior to its demolition in 1927, the Queen's Hotel had been one of Toronto's most prestigious hotels. It was billed as "One of the largest and most comfortable hotels in the Dominion of Canada".[7] It was owned by McGaw and Winnett. McGaw and Winnett were the hoteliers of Upper Canada at the turn of the 20th century also owning the Queens Royal Hotel in Niagara on the Lake and the Tecumseh House in London, Ontario. Henry Winnett acquired Thomas McGaw's interest in the hotels after his death in 1901. Henry Winnett died in 1925. His estate eventually sold the Queens Hotel to the Canadian Pacific Railway, then under Sir Edward Beatty, who demolished the Queen's Hotel and built the Royal York. Both Thomas McGaw and Henry Winnett are buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery with several members of their families.

The Royal York was a state-of-the-art hotel upon completion in 1929, with ten elevators, a radio in each of its 1,048 rooms, and a private shower or bath in each room. Other features included a large Concert Hall fitted with an impressive Casavant Frères pipe organ. With five manuals and 107 stops, it was the largest pipe organ in Canada. The telephone switchboard was 66 feet long and required 35 operators. The hotel was enlarged in 1956-57 with the addition of the east wing to a total of 1,600 rooms and was the largest hotel in the Commonwealth for many years. From 1988 until 1993, the Royal York Hotel underwent a $100 million restoration.

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 party, occupying the Royal Suite herself.

After Canadian Pacific Hotels acquired Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and chose to use the Fairmont name on all its hotels, there was a public outcry when it was announced that the chain planned to take down the historic “Royal York” sign and replace it with a new “Fairmont” sign. As a result of the protest, a new sign with both names “Fairmont Royal York” was erected.

One of the hotel's more famous features was the Imperial Room, a nightclub that attracted major-name talent from the 1940s to the 1990s. Management closed the Imperial Room during the major renovation in the 1990s, and it has been refurbished to become a large ballroom and meeting hall.

The PATH underground walkway system connects the hotel to the Royal Bank Plaza and Union Station.

Honey bees[edit]

In July 2008, the Royal York installed three beehives on its 13th-floor rooftop terrace to serve its in-house garden, which already provides its nine restaurants with fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers. Three queens and their 40,000 workers provide the chefs with up to 700 pounds of honey. The hotel named the hives the Honey Moon Suite, the Royal Sweet and the V.I. Bee Suite.[8][9]

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. ^ Filey, Mike (2001). A Toronto Album: Glimpses of the City that Was. Toronto: Anthony Hawke (The Dundurn Group). p. 17. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  7. ^ "The Queen's Hotel". The Independent. Jul 6, 1914. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  8. ^ Staff writers (9 July 2008). "Toronto hotel producing its own honey". The Vancouver Province. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Claire Sibonney (8 July 2008). "Toronto hotel boasts own honey from rooftop hives". Reuters. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 

External links[edit]