A Look Inside Toronto’s Historic Broadview Hotel
The Broadview Hotel on Toronto’s east side is poised to do for the surrounding neighborhoods what game-changers like The Drake and The Gladstone hotels did for the city’s hip Queen St. West scene: turn them into cultural, shopping and culinary hotspots. “We knew the potential and the opportunity, but we wanted the hotel to have its own identity,” says Matt Davis, a partner at DesignAgency. The Toronto-based firm did the Broadview’s interior design, which often nods to the historic building’s past as the infamous Jilly’s gentleman’s club in clever tongue-in-cheek fashion. The transformation is jaw-dropping in many ways: what was once a grim, gritty corner is now a sunny spot for Sunday brunch, a favorite place for rooftop cocktails, and a fun place to check-in for a weekend visit or staycation. Here’s a closer look…
The lobby’s black and brass scheme strikes a balance between urban and polished. The metalwork around the elevators was made from fire escapes removed from the 126-year-old building’s façade during the restoration. The feature is one of many design details that reference the building’s past.
Working rotary phones hark back to the building’s early life and paint the common areas with a vintage patina.
The main-floor Café + Bar features wallpaper custom made to replicate a 100-year-old design found during the redesign’s demolition phase. “There were layers and layers of wallpaper that traced changing styles over the decades,” says DesignAgency’s Matt Davis. “Interestingly, the newest and the oldest layers were very similar.”
The neon light in the Café + Bar was fashioned by the son of the fabricator who made the iconic neon dancing ladies that lit up the building’s exterior when it was still Jilly’s. Look closely and you’ll see a woman’s face in profile.
The Civic is the hotel’s ground-level restaurant that opened in the fall. A plush, moody space, it blends Art Deco influences from the ’20s and ’30s with a ’70s tavern feel.
Food is fresh and hardy. Oysters, elk chops, winter greens salad, mushroom toast (pictured), braised rabbit leg and Lobster a l’Americaine round out the The Civic’s winter menu.
The bar area of The Civic.
On the guestroom floors, the black doors that lead into the suites are framed with pink trim.
Red drapes, floral wallpaper and king-size beds with wrap-around headboards give the guestrooms a boudoir feel. Brass utility poles accessorized with mirrors and mini shelves wink at the property’s racey past.
The rooms are generously sized, leaving plenty of space for cool amenities like a vinyl turntable and a wet bar. Each room has three albums curated by Tiny Record Shop, a nearby neighborhood record store.
The black-and-white in-suite bathrooms are well appointed with locally sourced products by Graydon Skincare.
The Rooftop restaurant has a treehouse feel. The connection to outside is strengthened by hanging plants and a skylight roof that allows sun or moonlight to stream into the indoor space.
After the hotel’s soft opening in July 2017, it quickly became a destination for both tourists and locals, who flock to the rooftop terrace for cocktails and 360-degree views of the Toronto skyline. “If you look west, the view is completely urban and side-by-side buildings. When you look east, it’s trees and green. The hotel is right on the divide,” says Matt.
The rooftop’s restored corner tower was turned into a private dining space. Glittering chandeliers dangle from the vaulted ceiling and create a sense of occasion in the cozy, intimate space.