Fairmont Royal York celebrates 90th with renos

The interior of the new lobby bar, CLOCKWORK.

The interior of the new lobby bar, CLOCKWORK.

TORONTO — The Fairmont Royal York Hotel celebrated its 90th anniversary on June 11 with a party, ribbon cutting, and tours of the hotel's magnificent renovations which cost $100 million plus and took more than four years. 

Ribbon cutting at the June 11 celebration.

Ribbon cutting at the June 11 celebration.

After the ribbon cutting, the hotel officially unveiled its new lobby, designed by The Rockwell Group, and lobby lounge, CLOCKWORK Champagne & Cocktails, as well as REIGN Bar + Bakery. An additional restaurant has since opened, as part of the hotel’s complete signature dining experience, REIGN Restaurant + Bar + Bakery.

Hundreds of people crowded the famed lobby for the celebrations, which were inaugurated with entertainment from Big Smoke Brass Band. Present at the grand reveal were Mayor of Toronto, John Tory; Regional Vice President Accor Central Canada and General Manager, Fairmont Royal York, Edwin Frizzell; Project Lead for Royal York, Paul Campbell of ownership group, KingSett Capital; and Partner at Rockwell Group, Greg Keffer.

Paul Campbell, John Tory and Edwin Frizzell with the celebratory birthday cake.

Paul Campbell, John Tory and Edwin Frizzell with the celebratory birthday cake.

“Owning and overseeing the repositioning of the Fairmont Royal York, one of Canada’s most iconic and enduring properties, is a responsibility we have treated with care, dedication and great respect,” said Paul Campbell, Royal York project lead at KingSett Capital, Fairmont Royal York ownership group. “This is much more than just a hotel – it represents much of the history and soul of our great city.”

“A pivotal part of the Fairmont Royal York, CLOCKWORK will honour our legacy with a new statement timepiece,” said Edwin Frizzell, regional vice president and general manager, Fairmont Royal York. “Our ’90th Anniversary Clock’ is dedicated to the people of the city of Toronto, as well as the past, present and future colleagues of Fairmont Royal York who have, for 90 years, been the beating “heart” of our hotel.”

The interior of REIGN restaurant and bar, which is now open.

The interior of REIGN restaurant and bar, which is now open.

Since opening on June 11th, 1929, Fairmont Royal York has welcomed many heads of state and celebrities and has been host to many historical moments. To honour its past, the hotel commissioned author and historian Dr. Carolyn Harris to help create a self-guided history tour for guests to explore the hotel’s public spaces and learn more about its storied past. 

Looking ahead to the future, the hotel is sponsoring Toronto of the Future– a unique exhibition running from June 25th to July 1st that highlights the real estate and infrastructure projects expected to shape the landscape of the city.

To capture the hotel’s legacy and Golden Era roots, Frank Rea of Forget Me Not Flowers designed a stunning floral installation, The Celebration Cake, which will be on display in the hotel lobby for the month of June. In honour of 90 years, Fairmont Royal York also donated 90 room nights to Heritage Toronto, who will disperse them across the city for not-for-profits to raise funds to support their public heritage programming and the work of the over 100 community and volunteer organizations in Toronto.

“I am so thrilled to help celebrate Fairmont Royal York's 90th birthday as they unveil their transformation,” said Mayor of Toronto John Tory.“The hotel is truly an icon here in the city of Toronto, and I am excited for it to continue welcoming guests from all over the world to the city for another 90 years.”

In addition to the lobby and dining spaces, the hotel also recently launched an entirely new Fairmont Gold offering — its luxury “hotel within a hotel” experience — and will soon reveal updates to its world-renowned meeting and event spaces as part of the property’s most extensive restoration project to date. The hotel will also soon reveal its new Legacy Suites, set to open later this summer.

Plaque presentation for the hotel's 90th Anniversary Clock, from left: Edwin Frizzell, Kaila McMurray, Vergilio Ferreira.

Plaque presentation for the hotel's 90th Anniversary Clock, from left: Edwin Frizzell, Kaila McMurray, Vergilio Ferreira.

For nearly 90 years, Fairmont Royal York has stood proudly as a Toronto landmark, presiding over the block opposite Union Station – a love letter in stone to the heart of the city. It began its life as The Royal York, the tallest building in the British Commonwealth, soaring nearly 400 ft. and 28 storeys above the street level. 

A dominant feature on the skyline, the building contained 1,048 rooms, and included a concert hall, library, extensive bakery, radio station, ballrooms, restaurants, even a hospital. Little wonder it was called a city within a city – as it still is today. 

With a worldwide portfolio of more than 75 hotels, Fairmont also takes great pride in its deep community roots and leadership in sustainability. Fairmont is part of Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique and meaningful experiences in 4,800 hotels, resorts, and residences across 100 countries.