Amid a big summer for hotel openings in Toronto, a longstanding lodging locale in The Beaches just met its demise.
The Toronto of the past is giving way to a higher-density future of condo clustered corridors, coming at the cost of some well-known buildings that have served as staples in their neighbourhoods for generations.
The hotel has stood near the northwest corner of Kingston Road and Queen Street East since 1935, built across from the former Old Woodbine Racecourse (later known as the Greenwood Raceway) and currently the site of History.
Originally known as the Orchard Park Hotel, the two-storey brick structure’s location helped it earn a reputation as a den of gambling culture, and was converted into the Orchard Park Tavern in the 1950s to accommodate the thirsty masses attending races across the street.
The hotel-turned-tavern’s original architecture was covered up in a 1980s recladding project, and the death knell for the Orchard Park legacy came in 1993 when the racetrack closed, and with it, the property’s main source of runoff business.
It was converted back to a hotel under the Days Inn banner the following year. Twenty-eight years later, the hotel’s doors have closed for good.
A development proposal tabled back in 2019 is now approved and in motion for the site, starting with the clearing of existing buildings. A former two-storey commercial building and car wash met their ends in 2021, and teardown recently began for the since-vacated hotel.
While the development proposal also includes the heritage-designated 1702 Queen Street East, currently home to local pub Murphy’s Law, the 1913-built former bank building will be retained in its entirety and incorporated into the new condo development.
Known as Queen & Kingston, the new building from developer The Sud Group will rise six storeys with a design from Graziani + Corazza Architects and add 81 condominium units to the neighbourhood upon completion.