Historic Victorian Architecture Meets Contemporary Artists’ Designs
Artistry is a part of Gladstone Hotel’s very foundation, from its Victorian-style arches to its birdcage elevator. Toronto’s oldest continuously operating hotel, the Gladstone was originally built in 1889, when its corner was the edge of the city limits. Back then, performers would stop here on their way out of town after shows to spend the night or grab drinks in the lounge. Recently named one of the world’s top five arty hotels by Metro, the hotel has only strengthened its ties to the artistic community. A different artist designed each of Gladstone’s 37 guest rooms, and a full-time curator organizes rotating exhibits at three onsite art galleries.
Classic flourishes such as high ceilings, exposed-brick walls, and huge, functional windows tie the rooms together architecturally. But each has a distinctive look, as the hotel asked local visual artists and interior designers to construct their own visions of artistic guest rooms. The Sugarbush room draws inspiration from southern Ontario’s maple forests in wintertime, which you can see in the natural walnut bedframe and light shades fashioned out of sap buckets. Contrasting that, the Offset room achieves an urban look with two intersecting installations designed by two architects, including a horizontal light strip that wraps around the wall. Check out the individual room pages for previews of the rooms and interviews with the designers.
Gladstone Hotel engages with the local art scene in other ways, as well. There may be an indie-rock show or a night of comedy in the Ballroom, an art exhibit in the second-floor gallery, or even a burlesque show. The Melody Bar hosts a regular karaoke night, but you can also drop by for a drink and entree from its eclectic dinner menu, with dishes ranging from burgers to Korean-style kalbi ribs. Or sip on a glass of wine at the onsite café, which also serves food throughout the day.
Toronto, Ontario: Walking City with High-End Shopping and World-Class Museums
With a sprawling network of eclectic neighborhoods and miles of waterside parklands, Toronto is known as a wonderful walking city that overflows with cultural treasures. Set on the shores of Lake Ontario, the city’s scenic hiking and walking trails wind along the harbor front. Wintertime visitors may want to visit the skiing and snowboarding hills within a few minutes’ drive of the hotel. Beginning in early December, a number of outdoor ice-skating rinks open up throughout the city.
A stroll through the Fashion District and Chinatown leads to Kensington Market, a bohemian village rife with vintage shops and organic food markets. For haute couture shopping and fine dining, visitors head to the Bloor-Yorkville neighborhood where modern-art installations and crosswalks lined with memory foam soften the industrial streetscape.
Toronto also serves as home to some of Canada’s best museums, starting with the rare Quebecois religious statuary and the restored Georgian house at The Art Gallery of Ontario. In addition to hosting the country’s largest African and Oceanic art collection, the massive museum curates Italian Baroque sculptures, and historical Canadian art, including contemporary Inuit masterpieces. And science geeks will want to make a stop at the Ontario Science Centre, where they can watch an IMAX film, delve into space at the planetarium, or touch a plasma ball at the Science Arcade.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.