On July 1st, One King West Hotel & Residence turned 100 years-old. Their centennial anniversary is marked by a remarkable set of changes within and around the storied building at the corner of King and Yonge. Its current iteration stands 51-stories tall and is more than suited for one night stands or extended stays. Inside its four walls (and out), the Heritage Building also stands as a charming historical relic amidst a host of modern updates.
The Beaux-Arts style edifice, designed by acclaimed architects Darling & Pearson, was first erected in 1914 as the headquarters for The Dominion Bank. Ninety-one years later, in 2005, the property reopened as a hotel and residence with over 300 suites, following a 51-storey condominium addition. Designed by Stanford Downey Architects Inc., the new structure was nicknamed The Sliver, and had the most slender height to width ratio in the world at the time.
At the beginning of 2014, the hotel began a multi-million dollar revitalization project to renovate all hotel suites and hallways that will conclude towards the end of the year. But as the hotel continues to evolve in comfort and style, it has also retained a remarkable amount of historical character.
From ground level, the original 12-storey Dominion Bank façade preserves its street side charm. Inside its walls, the venue spaces are some of the most becoming in the area. The Grand Banquet Hall has 45-foot ceilings and the original 100-foot tellers’ counter, which has been transformed into one of the longest bars in Canada. Travernelle marble pillars and ornate skylights on the balcony above create a feeling of endless, elegant space. Brass railings and ornate paneled ceilings complete the vintage aesthetic.
Some 70-feet from the main entrance, a wide marble staircase will lead you down to the original bank vault – a private dining space and the backdrop for photo shoots and Hollywood films, including Red, Max Payne, and Jumper. At the time of construction, the vault was the largest and best equipped in Canada. Its massive circular door measures 4.6 feet thick and weighs over 40 tonnes. During construction, it took a team of 19 horses to haul the door down Yonge Street, but today you can swing it open yourself.
Above ground, the modern fitness centre, “king size” hot tubs, saunas, and Renaissance-style pool bring some of the modern luxuries to hotel guests. The pinnacle of upscale living can be found in Fourteen Hundred and Fifteen Hundred; the executive centre and luxury hospitality suites boast the latest in design and technical features including a floor-to-ceiling, fully retractable glass wall leading to a wraparound terrace overlooking downtown Toronto.
On a recent stay, we roamed the halls and toured the historical enclaves. A treat for any architecture enthusiast, One King West is a worthwhile destination for visitors looking for a luxury landing pad in the heart of downtown, or for staycationers yearning for a centenarians twist on the modern.
Archival photos courtesy of TD Archives.
Have you stayed at One King West? Let us know whether you enjoyed your time at the hotel in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.