Dave Leblanc had an article on the redevelopment of the King Edward Hotel in yesterdays Globe and Mail.
The hotel – ventilation, colonnades and all – opened in May 1903 and was advertised as “absolutely fire-proof” (built of steel and concrete) to calm guests fearful of staying on upper floors. It had everything: Women-only areas for solo female travelers, lavish murals, a men’s barber shop, the Palm Room, the Oak Room bar and, of course, the exquisite Rotunda. In 1921, the 18-storey “skyscraper” addition, designed by a Buffalo, N.Y. and a London, Ontario firm, was tacked onto the east side of the hotel; until being eclipsed by the Royal York in 1929, the King Eddy was the largest hotel in the country. The Crystal Ballroom on the 18th floor set a new standard, and celebrities from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor partied there.
Three floors of the hotel building which had previously been commercial space are being redeveloped as private condominiums. ERA are the architects-in-charge of the project, with The Design Agency handling interior design.
Read the full article “Old King Eddy shows how to mix business and history” from the May 27, 2010, edition of the Globe and Mail here.