The hotels are a kind of architectural marker, all sharing similar styles from between 1885 and 1925, more or less, which means even in a massive city their character is recognizable.
Maybe the most visited of the grand railway hotels, the Royal York is in downtown Toronto, near (fittingly) Union Station (the city’s main train station).
It’s one of the newer railway hotels, finished in 1929, decades after the first ones opened in before the turn of the century. However, they still share a similar architectural identity, as massive luxury hotels dominating their place. While the Royal York is no longer the dominant piece of the Toronto skyline, it was, at one time, the biggest building in the city, and the tallest in Canada.
The leading architectural firm had worked on more than a few notable buildings before, with many of them currently holding heritage status. In fact, the Chateau Laurier was one of their earlier works.
Over the years there were some updates, including internal renovations this year. And it’s worth mentioning the inside, because it’s worth poking your head in. The interior highlight, to me, is the classic old clock centre piece rising from the middle of dual spiral staircases.
The Ryal York is now a Fairmount property, like so many of these hotels are.
Located near Union Station, this is an easy place to visit up close via the TTC. However, being that it’s a large sight and angles aren’t always great up close, there are a few other places around the city where you can get good shots, including a bird’s eye view from the CN Tower.
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