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Royal York Hotel
Toronto Royal York Hotel 1.jpg
General information
Location Toronto, Ontario Canada, M5J 1E3
Status Complete
Constructed 1929
Use Hotel
Technical details
Floor count 19
Companies involved
Architect(s) Ross and Macdonald; Sproatt & Rolph

The Fairmont Royal York (usually referred to as the "Royal York"), formerly known as the Royal York Hotel, is a large and historic hotel in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada at 100 Front Street West.

Opened on June 11, 1929, the Royal York was designed by Ross and Macdonald (with Sproatt and Rolph) and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway across the street from Union Station. With 28 floors, the Château-style building was the tallest building in Toronto at that time, and the tallest building in the British Empire until the construction of Toronto’s Canadian Bank of Commerce tower on King Street one year later.



It is the third hotel to occupy the site. In 1843 the Ontario Terrace opened at this site and was renamed Sword's Hotel in 1853. The hotel was renamed again in 1860 as Revere House and finally as the Queen's Hotel in 1862. Prior to its demolition, the Queen's Hotel had been one of Toronto's most prestigious hotels. The Queens Hotel was owned by Winnett and McGaw. Winnett and McGaw were the hoteliers of Upper Canada at the turn of the century owning the Queens Royal Hotel in Niagara on the Lake and were managing partners in the Tecumsie House in London, Ontario. Henry Winnett acquired Dick McGaw's interest in the hotels after his death. Henry Winnett's estate eventually sold the Queens Hotel to the Canadian Pacific Railway, who then demolished the Queen's Hotel and built the Royal York. Both Thomas Dick McGaw and Henry Winnett are buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery with several members of their families.

Fairmont Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto, seen from the Skypod observation deck of CN Tower

It was a state-of-the-art hotel when it was constructed, with ten elevators, a radio in each of its 1,048 rooms, and a private shower or bath in each room. Other features included a large Concert Hall fitted with an impressive Casavant Frères pipe organ. With five manuals and 107 stops, it was the largest pipe organ in Canada. The telephone switchboard was 66 feet long and required 35 operators. The hotel was enlarged in 1959 with the addition of the east wing to a total of 1,600 rooms and was the largest hotel in the Commonwealth for many years.

The hotel has been the residence of choice for Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Canadian Royal Family when in Toronto. The Queen usually has an entire floor reserved for her and her party, occupying the Royal Suite herself.

After Canadian Pacific Hotels acquired Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and chose to use the Fairmont name on all its hotels, there was a public outcry when it was announced that the chain planned to take down the historic “Royal York” sign and replace it with a new “Fairmont” sign. As a result of the protest, a new sign with both names “Fairmont Royal York” was erected.

The PATH underground walkway system connects the hotel to the Royal Bank Plaza and Union Station.

Organic green tea from Japan is the house speciality, and is found in every room.


Honey bees

In July 2008, the Royal York installed three beehives on its 13th-floor rooftop terrace to serve its in-house garden, which already provides its nine restaurants with fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers. Three queens and their 40,000 workers provide the chefs with up to 700 pounds of honey. The hotel named the hives the Honey Moon Suite, the Royal Sweet and the V.I. Bee Suite. The queens entered into their 14th-storey triple-hive apiary.[1][2]

See also

External links


Coordinates: 43°38′46″N 79°22′54″W / 43.646133°N 79.381561°W / 43.646133; -79.381561

Preceded by
Sterling Tower
Tallest Building in Toronto
Succeeded by
Commerce Court North
Preceded by
Old Royal Bank Building, Montreal
Tallest Building in Canada
Succeeded by
Commerce Court North


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