Completed in 1903, the original King Edward Hotel was Toronto’s first ‘palace hotel’. It was built at the start of the Edwardian age, which brought opulence and exuberance to the design language at the turn of the century. The hotel’s Crystal Ballroom opened on the 17th floor atop the 1922 tower addition, to great public and critical acclaim, establishing itself as the go-to venue for high-profile social events from the 1920s to the 1970s.
But the Ballroom fell into disrepair and disuse — being bypassed by the hotel’s major renovation in the 1980 — until ERA was engaged as Architect of Record and heritage consultant in late 2007.
Since then, ERA has completed work in many parts of the King Edward Hotel, both interior and exterior. The Crystal Ballroom was one of the later projects on the hotel, starting in 2016. ERA’s involvement included the interior renovation of the double-height Ballroom, including the pre-function areas at the north end of the 17th floor, and the 18th floor balcony at the north end of the ballroom, with associated bar, kitchen and washrooms. In total, the interior renovations totalled approximately 14,000 square-feet.
Although damaged by 50 years of use, the majority of the neo-Classical plasterwork in the Ballroom remained in relatively sound condition, and ERA was able to retain it in place with selective repairs. The wood wainscoting had also been badly damaged over the years and was replicated, with new enclosures installed below the double-height windows to conceal new heaters. The entrance from the Pre-Function space into the Ballroom was returned to its original configuration through removal of a later wall. The serving doors at the northeast corner of the Ballroom, originally connecting to the 18th floor kitchen, were also retained.
With a fresh look and a new generation of revellers to cater to, the King Edward Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom continues life as a relevant and dynamic part of Toronto’s social scene.
Interior Design work on The Crystal Ballroom was executed by Moncur Design Associates.