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Toronto’s W Hotel, a showcase for today’s local heritage

Toronto’s W Hotel, a showcase for today’s local heritage


Sid Lee Architecture unveils its plan to revitalize the former Bloor Street Hotel for the opening of W Hotels Worldwide’s latest property in Toronto’s Yorkville district. Based on themes drawn from the city’s thriving culture and historical heritage, W Toronto reflects the banner’s desire to assert itself as a showcase for today’s local heritage.

W Toronto emerges in the Yorkville district with a design led by Sid Lee Architecture, displaying an ethos that reflects the city’s heritage and contemporary culture. Interiors are stylishly imagined as a staged spread, with a series of neighborhoods linked by a brutalist neutrality and accented by hints of dynamism. “As community connection is an important part of W’s DNA, it was vital to connect the hotel to its context, but the building’s original enclosed layout presented an integration challenge, explains Martin Leblanc, architect and senior partner at Sid Lee. Our team relied on a seamless connection between the interior and exterior to transform the hotel into a hub of connectivity”. Café by day and cocktail bar by night, Public School anchors the first floor. Activity is oriented around a circular bar clad in notched black marble panels, inspired by neighboring designer boutiques on Bloor Street. Murals by local artist Alan Ganev enliven the atmosphere with street art, reinforcing the heritage of Toronto’s former Graffiti Alley. The Living Room occupies a glass cube on the second floor, equipped with suspended grilles, velvet curtains and lighting resembling movie projectors, giving the space a backstage feel. Large tubes also extend across the second level to provide intimate enclaves, in addition to a conversation pit featuring a fireplace. The Skylight Rooftop Bar and Restaurant completes the public areas, lined with moucharabieh-style perforated screens, hanging plants, colorful ceramics and warm tones generating an ambience evocative of a welcoming riad. Almost all 254 rooms overlook the greenery surrounding the glass cube of the Living Room and a horizontal mural by Kirsten McCrea on the roof. Beds are placed in front of the windows and adorned with warm draperies, hanging lamps and a deep blue frame. Vanity mirrors and clothes racks are also installed to channel the aesthetic of a movie set. The brand’s signature Extreme WOW suite further amplifies this motif with rows of bulbs, reminiscent of marquee lights, stretched across the ceiling. The inn’s design makes for a stay that’s like stepping onto the Toronto stage, raising the curtain on an updated hospitality experience in homage to Toronto’s thriving film industry.

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