The King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto opened in May 1903 as the City’s first “palace hotel” to rival hotels in New York and London and boasting “absolutely fireproof” construction. Two notable architects, Henry Ives Cobb and E.J. Lennox, were responsible for the design of the original 8-storey hotel building. The building features a bold, Beaux Arts design in limestone, buff brick, and highly ornate architectural terracotta.
In 2007, ERA was engaged as architect and heritage consultant to rehabilitate the run-down heritage-designated Crystal Ballroom, which has been unoccupied since the late 1970s, into a revitalized event space. The double-height ballroom, located on the 17th and 18th floors with views to the south, east, and west, opened its doors in 1922 and remained one of the city’s premier entertainment spaces for nearly 50 years. The project was put on hold in 2008 due to the economic downturn.
Since 2009, ERA has served as prime consultant on a number of interior and exterior conversion and restoration projects, including the conversion of the 3rd-5th floors of the hotel into luxury condominium suites. Floors 3, 4, and 5 were most recently used as commercial office space in the 1980s, and had been unoccupied for the past 20 years. They were stripped back to the steel columns and concrete floors: no original interior finishes remained. ERA oversaw the construction of 140 residential suites within these existing spaces, with a total floor area of approximately 100,000 square feet. All 1970s metal windows were replaced with new wood sash windows and residential balconies were added in the large light wells.
ERA has also overseen the refurbishment of 300 guest suites, as well as the grand public spaces at the ground and 2nd floors, including the main lobby Rotunda, the Sovereign Ballroom, and the Vanity Fair ballroom. Construction was completed in the summer of 2015.
In 2013, ERA was engaged in a multi-phase, multi-year conservation project to repair the full height of the masonry walls and perimeter of the hotel for a further 50-year life. Construction on this project is ongoing.