Toronto is, without an ounce of doubt, one of my favourite cities in the world. As a Canadian, I’ve always seen it as my go-to destination when I’m looking to escape the quieter countryside and become engulfed in big-city vibes. As a world traveler, I have an unending appreciation for its unmatched juxtaposition of thrilling nightlife and stunning views of nature. Like any major city, there is an outstanding selection of great hotels to choose from when booking your trip—many filled with rich history, but none quite as unique as the Broadview Hotel in Toronto’s East End.
Originally constructed in 1891 as a commercial center known as Dingman Hall, its beautiful Romanesque architecture, featuring arched windows and glamorous halls quickly, made it a hot gathering spot for socialites. It was transformed into the Broadview Hotel in 1907 and remained a hotel (under many different owners and names) until the 1970s, when it became a boarding house with the iconic Jilly’s strip club on the first floor. Jilly’s remained there and built quite the reputation for itself—most notably for the times that boa constrictors, pythons, and even a Siberian tiger joined dancers on stage—until 2014 when the property was purchased by Streetcar Developments and transformed back into the Broadview Hotel. A diverse clientele of locals and travellers have entered these doors over the past nearly-130 years, and now anyone coming to Toronto who is looking to immerse themselves in some neighbourhood history has the opportunity to experience this beloved location.
The boutique hotel boasts 58 guest rooms that have been gorgeously renovated to honour the classic design elements of the celebrated location while adding touches of modern luxury. Sleek wood floors and white walls are adorned with pops of colour with deep red blackout curtains and fun fabrics. All of the rooms feature staple amenities like fresh towels and linens, TV, wifi, stocked mini fridge, and complimentary tea and coffee, but they also include vinyl record players, which I thought was an amazing touch that paid homage to the hotel’s previous lives. All of the rooms are much more spacious than some of the other boutique hotels throughout the city that inhabit older buildings, and some feature private terraces where guests can enjoy views of the quaint Riverdale neighbourhood or the famous Queen Street East. After long days of sightseeing or enjoying all Toronto’s nightlife has to offer, it is refreshing to be able to retreat back to such a great location.
I must mention the blogger mail I received while I was at the Broadview Hotel. Fresh Beauty sent me some of my my go-to faves from their Black Tea line to prep me for my move to Bogota, Colombia. The Black Tea mask is something I can’t live without as it is extremely hydrating and leaves my skin feeling fresh. The sugar face polish from Fresh Beauty is the best exfoliating mask I have come across.
As we all know, it’s not just a comfy bed and exciting views that make a hotel worth booking—for foodies like myself, the onsite dining options are just as important. I was blown away by the number of places there are to eat at the Broadview Hotel. I’ve found that most boutique hotels like this typically offer 1 or 2 dining options max, but Broadview offers 4 restaurants each with a unique atmosphere and menu.
Voted one of Toronto’s best new restaurants in 2018, The Civic focuses its culinary offerings on locally sourced foods and traditional cooking techniques from around Ontario, as well as fresh in-season ingredients. The building’s original brick facade combined with beautiful wood features and leather booths provide a sophisticated ambiance, while the dinner menu offers high-end selections like roasted halibut, seared Atlantic salmon, and fresh hand-cut pasta. The Civic is mainly a dinner spot, but is also open for weekend brunch and special events.
If you’re looking for lighter faire throughout the day, the Broadview Bistro + Bar is a bright and bustling cafe serving the area’s best coffee and croissants. There is also an extensive all-day menu that offers a selection of tasty hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, and wines.
Guests can enjoy the city’s most stunning skyline views while enjoying eccentric cocktails like the “Ski Bunny” (a mixture of tequila tromba, aperol, carrot orange juice, and torched rosemary), and shareable bites like cheese fondue, classic poutine, and even s’mores at The Rooftop, an expansive terrace open all year round. A perfect gathering spot for a hangout with friends or happy hour with coworkers, you can often catch live performances throughout the week here. During the cold winter months, guests can experience the Summit Lodge activation, where the enclosed area of the rooftop transforms into a comfy and chic ski lodge-inspired establishment, adorned with faux fireplaces and deep wood tones.
If you’re looking to host an elegant dinner or private affair, The Tower is one of the most eccentric and hip spots I have come across in my Toronto travels. Vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, and exquisite chandeliers provide a dreamy backdrop straight out of an Instagram feed or Pinterest board. Unlike the other restaurants at The Broadview, you must contact this location ahead of time to book an event here.
If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind experience at a hotel that offers onsite socializing, rich history, and stunning setting, The Broadview is an obvious choice. Whether you’re visiting Toronto from far away or are a local resident just looking for a nearby weekend getaway, there is truly something for everyone at this incredible establishment.