What’s in a Name? The Story of The Broadview Hotel in Toronto’s Riverside Neighbourhood

The Broadview Hotel today is a modern boutique hotel located in the heart of Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood at Queen Street East and Broadview. The iconic heritage building has a long and colourful story dating back to the 1800s. 

“Broadview Hotel” 1945: showing the store entrances

Serial entrepreneur, Archibald Dingman recognized Riverside as a great real estate opportunity/investment and purchased the property in the 1880s. The Broadview Hotel, in its original form, was constructed in 1891 when Riverside was a bustling industrial neighbourhood. The building was once the tallest east of the Don River and was an instant landmark. Then called “Dingman’s Hall”, it was used to host many social clubs, and political and community events. In 1907, the building was sold to Thomas J. Edwards who transformed it into the New Broadview House Hotel, renting rooms for $1.50 a night.  The establishment was known as the “Lincoln Hotel” for a time in the 1930s before reverting to its original name in the 40s.

In the 1970s to the 2010s, the building was a rooming house with main floor entertainment clubs, including Kicker’s (photo below from the Toronto Archives) and the more infamous Jilly’s.

In 2014, Streetcar Developments Inc. and Dream Unlimited purchased the building and transformed it from the ground up and from the top to the bottom.

The several years long revitalization of the building was eagerly watched by the community.  In 2016, when the extensive heritage restoration on the exterior of the building were complete, the “New Broadview Hotel” was now “The Broadview Hotel”, the old sign preserved on The Rooftop patio. Complete with a facelift but still retaining the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and art of the original structure.  

Jennifer Lay, the Riverside BIA’s Executive Director recalls: “The Riverside BIA and community was on hand the evening of October 5, 2016 when the impressive exterior lighting of the building was unveiled. It was the night of the BIA’s 36th Annual General Meeting and the meeting agenda was wrapped up in good time so all could rush out to experience the once-in-a-lifetime occasion.”

The community at the unveiling of the new exterior lighting on The Broadview Hotel (October 5, 2016)

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#BroadviewHotel lights up in #historical moment for #RiversideTO @broadviewhotel

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The opening of the establishment itself followed nearly 10 months later and it was well worth the wait to enter the carefully curated boutique hotel in July 2017,  featuring a rooftop bar with a stunning 360 degree view of the Toronto skyline.

Ribbon cutting for The Broadview Hotel on July 27, 2017 with Streetcar Developments President Les Mallins, Mayor John Tory, Councillor Paula Fletcher and other VIPs

Nods to the building’s history can be found throughout the interior. A hidden gem is the series of murals by local design studio Supermilk on the walls of the building’s seven-storey stairwell. From an homage to its original foundation of a Romanesque red brick building which saw the building of streetcar tracks into Toronto’s east, the 125-year sports history of cycling, baseball and more in Riverside, to the New Broadview House Hotel and the remnants of Jilly’s. Climbing down the stairwell gives you a one-of-a-kind tour back in the building’s and Riverside neighbourhood’s history.

The Broadview Hotel – Murals in the Stairwell

Homage to Sunlight Park – Toronto’s first Baseball Grounds, opened in 1886, was situated just south of Queen Street East at the time the Broadview Hotel was built.

In the span of four years, The Broadview Hotel has become one of the most sought-after destinations in Toronto. On top of its incredible design and features, The Broadview has developed unique local partnerships which further root it in Riverside and Toronto’s larger east end community. Just to name a few of the local collaborations: curated vinyl record collections from Riverside’s own Tiny Record Shop in hotel rooms, luxury toiletries from Riverdale-based Graydon Skincare as part of accommodations, and greenery in dining spaces curated by local shop Quince Flowers

The Lincoln Terrace at The Broadview Hotel

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel started a virtual “Cook with Us” series with host and executive chef Richard Singh. In June, their Rooftop Bar on the 7th floor and 2nd floor “Garden and Grill” on the Lincoln Terrace re-opened with health & safety measures in place. Need a break from your home office? The Broadview Hotel offers packages perfect for a staycation! You can find more information about the packages on their website.

This architectural showstopper has held many names, and the innate beauty of the structure and rich history rooted in Riverside no doubt has countless more stories to tell. 

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The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.