Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Afternoon Tea at the Windsor in Toronto, Canada

Located in the affluent area of Yorkville with its swanky restaurants and just off the city's Bloor Street, lined with designer stores such as Tiffany, Gucci & Prada, you can find one of Toronto's best kept secrets, the Windsor Arms Hotel. Ideally situated for those wanting to hit the shops and take in some of the city's best museums such as the Royal Ontario Museum and the Bata Shoe Museum, the hotel is a classy boutique style residence with 28 guest rooms, including 26 suites. There's also a fitness centre, spa and swimming pool.

The building dates back to 1927 when hotelier William Arthur Price decided to open a new hotel. It was designed to blend in with the nearby University of Toronto, with its neo-Gothic Victorian buildings.

This recently revitalised hotel might have disappeared forever had developer George Friedmann not transformed and reopened it in 1999 following years of neglect and its eventual closure in the 1980s. Many of the original features have been retained, such as the stained glass window and the stone portico and vestibule entrance on St Thomas Street.

The tearoom still has its original 1927 fireplace although it now has a very contemporary decor.
It's a real treat to sit in the tearoom and over a refreshing cup of tea, delicate sandwiches and divine pastries to reflect on all the visiting glitterati who have passed through the doors. During the 1950s and 70s, Elizabeth Taylor kept a year-round suite in the hotel.

More recently the co-founders of the Toronto International Film Festival Bill Marshall, Henk Van der Kolkand Dusty Cohl came up with the idea for hosting the film festival as they sat in one of the hotel's bars, now the barbershop. Now, many of the Hollywood Moghuls and red-carpet bound film stars stay here when attending the annual festival in September.

Address: 18 St Thomas Street, Toronto
Tel: 416-971-9666
Fax: 416-921-9121
Rates $250 - $1750
Afternoon Tea: $24-30

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