Great travel revolves around storied destinations. Which is why Toronto's 55-room Broadview Hotel is well positioned to become a must-visit spot for both tourists and locals when it reopens this spring. The 125-year-old Romanesque-revival structure tells a tale of glory, loss and, ultimately, redemption. Once the proud gateway to the city's east end, it fell into disrepair, becoming a seedy strip club before being revamped by some of the city's best designers: heritage restoration architects ERA, who helped bring both Maple Leaf Gardens and the Distillery District back to life, and interiors experts DesignAgency, whose award-winning hospitality spaces include Momofuku Toronto and Generator Hostels.
The tallest building in the city's east end when it was completed in 1893, the Broadview was originally designed by prominent architect Robert Ogilvie for Archibald Dingman, a soap manufacturer turned oil tycoon. For its first 15 years, it housed a bank, offices for lawyers and doctors, and public halls where politicians canvased for votes. In 1906, Dingman sold it and moved West to capitalize on Alberta's first oil rush and the building was converted into a hotel, then a rooming house, then, by the 1970s, an eyesore of a strip club called Jilly's.
Over the last twenty years, though, the surrounding neighbourhood filled up with modern furniture galleries, craft coffee on every corner and stylish parents pushing pricey prams. In 2014, the Broadview was bought by Streetcar Developments, which carefully brought the building back to life. The final design is still a closely guarded secret but it will preserve much of the original, Victorian brass detailing and hardwood floors, while layering in contemporary pops and artwork that will hopefully help its narrative stretch on for another 125 years.
For more information, visit www.streetcar.ca/broadview-hotel.
LOCAL INTEL: VERONICA CHU
Raised in Mississauga, the celebrity makeup artist and CoverGirl pro now spends most of her time in Toronto, but loves escaping the city to enjoy her days off
SHOP: "The Serpentine has a well-curated selection of dark and edgy clothing and accessories." www.theserpentine.net
DRINK: "I go to Frankies Surf Club in Port Carling, Muskoka, every summer. It's located right on the water and is open only on beautiful summer days. They serve coffee and juices, but their specialty is '60s-inspired beach cocktails. I love the Johnny Utah; it's made with bourbon and grapefruit – so good." www.frankiessurfclub.com
ESCAPE: "When I need to slow things down, I take a road trip to Niagara Falls. There is something so Zen about feeling the mist on your face from the massive waterfall!" www.niagarafallstourism.com