There is a beautiful old building located at King Street West and Strachan Ave in Toronto, called The Palace Arms Hotel. (I haven’t been inside so I am talking about the outside, as I don’t know what the corridors and rooms look like.)
While it is called a hotel, today it is more of an affordable long-term residence for men.
It was built in 1890, making it over 125 years old.
I wanted to get some photographs of it as it stands now, because I suspect that it won’t be as it is today for much longer.
I have no specific reason to think that it will be renovated any time soon, except that the area it resides within is changing by the day. Also, there were two other rooming-house type of hotels in this area of Toronto, that have been transformed into boutique hotels during the past decade. They are The Drake Hotel and The Gladstone. Interestingly, these two other hotels were built in the same year as The Palace Arms — there must have been a boom of visitors coming to the city in the late 1800s, that required the construction of three fairly large hotels for the time, in the same year.
(As for The Gladstone renovation, there’s a documentary, called Last Call at The Gladstone that depicts, as they describe it, the change from “skid row flophouse to arts and music hotspot”.)
The Drake and The Gladstone are quite a bit further west from the downtown core than is The Palace Arms, and that’s the part of the city where many tourists seem to like to be, so this all leads me to thinking that changes at The Palace Arms Hotel are probably not far off into the future.
I’ve been unable to find an historic photograph of the hotel straight on, but did find this one (below) of the eastern-most edge of it, taken in 1916 (so, 26 years after it was built). The photo is of the construction of the streetcar tracks along King Street West, in front of the hotel.
Today, I took the second photo from the very same spot, to show you how things have changed in a century.
^^ THEN : King Street West and Strachan Avenue – Taken May 4, 1916 ^^
^^ NOW : Kings Street West and Strachan Avenue – Taken September 24, 2011 ^^
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