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Surviving History: The Winchester Hotel of Parliament Street

Winchester Hotel

The Winchester Hotel is a three-and-a-half storey red brick structure, adjoined to the equally renowned Winchester Hall, located at the south-east corner of Parliament and Winchester. Sometimes referred to as the Lake View Hotel, architects Kennedy and Holland completed the building’s construction in 1888, contributing a much needed low-rise lodge to the neighbourhood. In 1941, architect Benjamin Swartz altered the hotel’s interior, changing the design to fit the tropes of the Art Moderne style. Today, the Winchester Hotel is still opened for business and stands as a fundamental Second Empire example in Cabbagetown, despite alterations to the interior.

Key Characteristics

Second Empire Exterior

  • Pilasters, stringcourses, and cornices
  • Mansard roof with gabled dormers and round-headed windows
  • Corner tower and dome
  • Stone lintels and sills
  • Two-storey bay window

Art Moderne Interior

  • Two-storey hotel sign and clock (exterior alteration)
  • Lobby floor and staircase
  • Second floor Laurentian Room

A Close Call

In 2009, the Winchester Hotel was on the brink of destruction, as a rampant fire blazed along the top floor of the building. Thankfully, city fire fighters responded to the emergency with haste, extinguishing the fire in under an hour. During this time, tarps were laid out in the building to minimize the effects of the fire, although damages had already been done. The police reported no injuries at the scene, and Parliament street remained closed several hours after-the-fact. It was a close call for the Winchester Hotel, serving as a reminder of how important it is to protect the many historic sites still remaining in Cabbagetown, as they tell stories of origin, people, and culture.

Winchester Hotel

Parliament Street

Over the last 15 years, many new developments have sprouted along Parliament Street, including both a Subway and Tim Horton’s. The revitalization of Regent Park is one example of modern times threatening heritage properties. There have been efforts to protect and restore buildings of historical importance, and the Winchester Hotel is one such property that stands a giant among emerging businesses in the neighbourhood.

Winchester Hotel

About Addy Saeed

Addy is a full time REALTOR® in Toronto, ON with RE/MAX ® and is involved in different real estate projects alongside community and charity events. An avid investor, auto enthusiast, music lover and long time adventurer. He can be contacted by calling 1-877-439-2339