Toronto’s architectural gems—the Waverly Hotel 484 Spadina

16 Feb


The Waverly Hotel at 484 Spadina is located north of the CIBC, on the northwest corner of Spadina and College. Next to hotel, on its north side (right-hand side in the photo) is the hotel’s Silver Dollar Room. Although not truly an architectural gem, the site and building have a rich history.


This photo shows west side of Spadina Avenue in 1870, looking northwest toward  Spadina and College. This corner was the first location of the Waverley Hotel. The land was originally part of a market garden that extended north of College Street, on the west side of Spadina Avenue.


Close-up view of the northwest corner of College and Spadina in 1870. These cottages were demolished in 1882 to accommodate the construction of a three-storey building for the YMCA.


Northwest corner of College and Spadina in 1893, and one of the first electric streetcars in Toronto. The building in the background was the YMCA, which contained a branch of the Bank of Commerce (later renamed the CIBC). A shop shares the ground-floor, facing Spadina, with the bank. To the north of the shop, mostly hidden by the larger building, was the residence of the Griffiths family.  When the YMCA relocated, the building became the first site of the Waverley Hotel.

In 1900, J. J. Powell built the Waverley Hotel of today, after the YMCA building was demolished. The Bank occupied the corner location, and the hotel was to the north of it. Powell increased the size of the hotel in 1925. In 1955, the lounge in the hotel received a liquor license. The Silver Dollar room was added to the Waverly in 1958.


This photo gazes south on Spadina in 1927, the Waverly Hotel on the right, to the north of the bank. The spelling of the name of the hotel contains an “E,” which has since disappeared. In this photo, the Bank of Commerce occupies the corner site, and the Waverly Hotel is to the north of it.


Gazing northwest in 1937 at the corner of Spadina and College. The streetcar tracks were being repaired when this photo was taken.


                            East facade of the hotel today, on Spadina Avenue.


A view of the north facade of the hotel, showing the Silver Dollar Room and the additions added to the rear of the hotel. The sign on the north wall contains the original spelling of the name of the hotel.


                                             The Silver Dollar Room on the north side of the hotel.


An historic plaque on the wall of the Waverly Hotel. Milton Acorn was born in PEI. He was severely wounded in the Second World War, and suffered from being bipolar. However, he became known as the People’s Poet and won the Governor General’s Award in 1976 for a collection of his poems entitled, “The Island Means Minago.” In 1984, the National Film Board produced a film of his life entitled, “In Love and Anger–Milton Acorn-Poet.” The NFB produced another film about him in 1988 – “A Wake for Milton Acorn.”

The poem below is from a web site about the poet.

I’ve Tasted My Blood”

If this brain’s over-tempered
consider that the fire was want
and the hammers were fists.
I’ve tasted my blood too much
to love what I was born to.
But my mother’s look
was a field of brown oats, soft-bearded;
her voice rain and air rich with lilacs:
and I loved her too much to like
how she dragged her days like a sled over gravel.
Playmates? I remember where their skulls roll!
One died hungry, gnawing grey porch-planks;
one fell, and landed so hard he splashed;
and many and many
came up atom by atom
in the worm-casts of Europe.
My deep prayer is a curse.
My deep prayer the promise that this won’t be.
My deep prayer my cunning,
my love, my anger,
and often even my forgiveness
that this won’t be and be.
I’ve tasted my blood too much
to abide what I was born to.

[Milton Acorn, 1963]


To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view other posts about Toronto’s architectural gems:

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

The Postal Delivery Building, now a part of the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

A study of Osgoode Hall

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.


Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.

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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Toronto


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