June 11, 2014 6:54 pm

Fairmont Royal York celebrates 85th anniversary


WATCH: (Jun. 11, 2014) A historical look back at what used to be the largest building in the Commonwealth. Minna Rhee reports on the Royal York Hotel’s 85th anniversary.

TORONTO – One of the most recognizable landmarks in Toronto is celebrating its 85th anniversary.

The Fairmont Royal York, once touted as the largest hotel in the British Commonwealth, opened its doors to visitors on June 11, 1929.

Although the building’s construction demolished the beloved Queen’s Hotel, the now famous structure across from Union Station is still considered by many as one of the most luxurious in Toronto.

From the famed Imperial Room to the identifiable Great Clock in the main lobby, the Royal York boasts a long history of dignified guests and performers.

Over the years, the hotel has gone through a number of renovations at a cost of close to $100 million with refurbished guestrooms, public spaces, a health club, skylit lap pool.

To date, the Royal York has welcomed more than 40-million guests.

According to Toronto historian Bruce Bell, the hotel still holds the largest kitchen in Canada which takes up three floors.

Meanwhile, the famed Ballroom adorned with chandeliers and graced with original hand-painted ceilings remains untouched since 1929.

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Despite its rich history, the future ownership of the landmark is still in question.

READ MORE: Caisse only to retain Quebec hotels

Quebec’s pension fund manager announced last month it will be getting out of the hotel business by selling all but three, including the landmark Toronto and Vancouver locations.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec said its hotel holdings will be whittled down to Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which will be renovated, the refurbished Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and the W Montreal adjacent to its headquarters.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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