Vintage Glamour-The Historic Royal York Hotel, Toronto Canada

This Sunday I am going for High Tea at the Beautiful and Historic Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

I have been to this hotel many times in my life (staying there a couple of times with my family before I moved to Toronto) and every time I’m blown away by its grandeur. It truly is a sight to see when visiting Toronto, a vintage lovers dream.

Royal York Hotel Vintage Toronto

Source: Wikipedia

History

The Royal York opened it’s doors on June 11, 1929. It was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth and quickly set the hospitality standard of the day. The magnificent hotel became known as a city within a city, rising in 28 floors of architectural splendor and replete with mechanical genius and opulence never before seen in Toronto.

It boasted 1,048 rooms – each with radios, private showers and bathtubs. The 1.5 acres of public rooms included a 12-bed hospital, 12,000-book library and ten ornate passenger elevators. The Concert Hall featured a full stage and mammoth pipe organ weighing 50 tons, which surpassed anything else in Canada with 300 miles of copper wire. There was a glass-enclosed roof garden, the largest hotel kitchen in Canada with a bakery that could produce over 15,000 French rolls a day, a 66-ft.long switchboard manned by 35 telephone operators, its own bank and golf course (now known as St. George Golf & Country) (Source).

1929 Royal York hotel Opening Ad

1929 Ad for the opening of the hotel. Source: AdClassix.com

1930s Royal York Hotel Toronto

The Hotel on Front Street, 1930s.   Source: Toronto Archives

Thank you to the Fairmont Royal York for finding this AMAZING sketch of the fashions wore during the opening Gala Ball on June 11, 1929.

I will take…all the outfits!

1929 vintage fashion images

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Vintage Image of the Lobby

Postcard Royal York Hotel Toronto

The Lobby Today..pretty similar.

Royal York Hotel-Toronto Lobby

Below is a sketch of the Royal York Hotel ballroom, clearly in the year that it opened from the outfits I see.

According to the Fairmont Royal York Pinterest Page:

When the Royal York hotel opened its doors on June 11, 1929, it brought about a new social era, attracting a true “who’s who” list of royalty, celebrities, dignitaries and leisure travellers to the city of Toronto. On opening night, the Royal York hosted four grand balls where guests dined and danced until the wee hours of the morning. It set a new standard in luxury, elegance and entertainment.

Royal York Hotel Toronto Ballroom Vintage Image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

The Ballroom looks exactly like it did when it first opened-Stunning!

Royal York Ballroom Toronto

Royal York Ballroom Toronto

The Hotel did everything top-notch. Look how stylish the Bartenders look in the 1940s?

I wonder what they are making, it looks delightful whatever it is.

Historic Royal york hotel 1940s Toronto

Source: Toronto Archives

What a Buffet! Can you see the Ice Sculpture Deer in the background? I love fun details like that.

1940s Royal York Hotel Toronto

Source: Toronto Archives

Image of the 66 foot long telephone switchboard that required 35 operators to run it.

Fairmont Royal York Telephone Switchboard Vintage Image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Of course a hotel on this grand of scale also had to have amazing entertainment.

Quote from the Fairmont Royal York Pinterest Page:

The Imperial Room was once the most sought after show room in North America, when it opened in the hotel in 1929 it was the city’s newest and most elegant dining and dancing establishment. It defined the Toronto social scene as the meeting site of high society functions and big band shows. The stage of the Imperial Room has seen headlining acts such as Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Bob Hope.

Imperial Room Royal York Hotel toronto vintage image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

The early bands often were employed by hotels, and many bore their employers’ names, eg, in Montreal, the Windsor Hotel Orchestra and Andy Tipaldi and his Ritz-Carlton Orchestra. The largest hotels in Canada had successions of orchestras which, by the 1950s and 1960s, also came to be used as showbands to accompany individual performers. Leaders at the Royal York Hotel (Toronto) have included Charles Bodley, Fred Culley, Rex Battle, Don Romanelli, Billy Bissett, Horace Lapp, Stanley St. John,Moxie Whitney, and Howard Cable (Source).

The band below is clearly the house band of the Royal York as the signs say “RY”. What kind of music do you think they are playing if the first row is all Violins?

Royal York Hotel Toronto Vintage Images

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Guests from all walks of life stayed at the hotel, like Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly (swoon) and even….Queen Elizabeth II (seen below).

Queen Elizabeth the 2nd at the Royal York Hotel Toronto

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Here is an adorable image of an Ice Follies performer in the 1940s who was staying there. How cute is that outfit??

Royal York Hotel Toronto Canada Historic images

Source: Toronto Archives

Royal York also had various advertising campaigns over the years. Here are some great vintage ads.

I adore this cute early 1960s ad (I think) for their meeting rooms. Reminds me of a Mad Men episode.

vintage marketing ads for the royal york hotel toronto

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Looking to get married? The Royal York I will do the job nicely.

This ad is clearly from the same illustrator as above, love it.

Vintage Wedding at the Royal York Hotel Toronto

Source: The Fairmont Royal York

The Royal York has even hosted fun events like this Direct Broadcast party of the Grey Cup (superbowl of Canada) in November 1956.

royal york hotel Grey cup 1950s

Source: Toronto Archives

Complete with Marching Girls.

1956 Grey Cup in toronto Royal York Hotel

Source; Toronto Archives

Many clubs and companies hosted events at the Hotel over the years, like The Electric Club from the 1930s-50s. Who apparently liked their menus to have pretty girls in swimsuits on the front (and lassie).

vintage Electric Club Menu's for Fairmont Royal York - date ranging from 1937 - 1952

Source: Fairmont Royal York

After looking thru all these photos, reading stories on the Royal York I’m thrilled the Fairmont and Toronto has seen value in keeping it standing after all these years because this truly is a fantastic piece of Toronto History.

royal york hotel 1929 vintage image

Source: Fairmont Royal York Hotel

 

So Friends..have you been to the RY? Or do you have a favorite vintage hotel? Do Tell!

Liz 🙂

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion – A Grand Piece of Toronto History

Toronto has a wonderful piece of history sitting on its waterfront called the “Sunnyside Beach Pavilion” that has been around since 1922. I have seen this structure at least a million times in my few short years living in Toronto and never ceases to amaze me on how beautiful it is. I even looked at is at a potential wedding venue 2 years ago that is how much I’m enamored with this structure.

Sunnyside Pavilion

1920’s Sunnyside

The name “Sunnyside” had been used to denote a beach and its surrounding area for 70-plus years before the amusement park and beach pavilion opened. The name may have been coined by George Howard, a prominent citizen whom in 1848 had built a home overlooking the shore on the sunny side of a hill (source).

By the 1920s, swimming at the foot of Roncesvalles Avenue had been popular for over thirty years, as there was a swimming area near a pumping station. This changed in 1913 when the pumping station was demolished to make way for the bridge connecting Lakeshore Road and the King/Queen/Roncesvalles intersection. A staircase was built for pedestrians to walk down to the shoreline. A slide was installed for bathers to slide down into the water (COOL!).

1912 Sunnyside Beach

1912 Sunnyside Beach Source: Toronto Archives

By 1920, this area was filled in and the beach was moved farther to the south. For the year 1921, the beach was recorded as having over 302,525 visitors (Source).

This influx of bathers to the area meant that there was a space needed where they could change, so on June 28th, 1922 the “Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion” was born.

Sunnyside Pavilion

Sunnyside Pavilion-Today

Sunnyside-bathing-pavilion-1922

Sunnyside-bathing-pavilion-1922

1920s Sunnyside Beach

1920s Sunnyside Beach and Pavilion

Sunnyside Beach 1924

Sunnyside Beach 1924

Information about the Beach building

The building, constructed of concrete, cost $300,000. Each wing held an outdoor changing area, lockers and showers, the women’s side on the east, and men’s side on the west. It offered over 7,700 lockers for patrons, a roof garden for 400. Admission fees were 25¢ for adults and 15¢ for children, and bathing suits and towels could be rented. In the center was a staircase leading to an upper terrace which overlooked the change areas leading to a rear terrace which ran the full length of the building and overlooked the beach.

The “Tank”

If you have ever been to Ontario and attempted to swim in the waters you would quickly realize that they are not the most ideal for swimming..cold! And so in 1925 a giant swimming pool called the “Tank” was built and could accommodate up to 2000 swimmers. It was considered at that time the largest swimming pool in the world and you can still go swimming in this pool today.

1920s Sunnyside Pool

Sunnyside Pool and Beach 1940s

1940s Sunnyside Pool

Bathing Pavilion Today

In 1980 the Bathing Pavilion was renovated with the outdoor lockers and changing areas being demolished and new changing rooms were built.

Sunnyside Beach Pavilion

Front of the Pavilion

Sunnyside Pavilion

Sunnyside Pavilion

Currently under construction to bring it back to former glory

The pool was rededicated as the ‘Gus Ryder Pool’, named after Marilyn Bell’s coach, the founder and coach of the Lakeshore Swim Club of New Toronto. I also just happened to find a plaque about Marilyn Bells near by as seen below…

Marilyn Bell Toronto

And that my friends is a brief history on the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion.

As a lover of history in Toronto it thrills me to the bone that Toronto has taken the time to preserve this piece of history. I sometimes find our city is so preoccupied with putting up millions of condos that us regular folks can’t afford that they forget that we don’t have tons of places like the Sunnyside Pavilion still standing that they should not so quickly discard.

I look forward to sitting by this structure for many more years to come.

Do you have something like this in your home town? Or a structure that has lots of history that your city takes pride in preserving it? Let me know!

Liz 🙂

 

Toronto Vintage Clothing Show-The Highlights

So this past Sunday I was excited to be able to work the booth for the Toronto Vintage Society at the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show. We were there to raise awareness of our society, sell some beautiful “Make Do and Mend” sewing kits and also sign up fellow vintage enthusiasts for our meetup group.

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Here I am with the lovely Larissa from Blonde Moxie at our booth. I’m wearing a Ethel of Beverly Hills sweater that got so many likes that day and even one lady wanted to buy it off me while at the show 🙂

Toronto Vintage Society

Photo Courtesy of Larissa

We were also joined by some of the other lovely ladies of TVS. Lisa, Larissa and Irene from Petite Plus, Meow!

Toronto Vintage Society

All of us together (minus our fearless leader Jacquie who was out-of-town on business).

Toronto Vintage Society

Here is a picture of the mending kits we created with vintage fabric for the pin top. Inside was candy, vintage buttons and everything else you need to sew up something fabulous.

vintage mending kits

Image courtesy of Irene 

We had a draw at our booth too and it had lots of wonderful goodies that any vintage loving person would want (there was some great items for the men as well, but just not showing in this pic).

Toronto Vintage Society

 Image courtesy of Shermy from Shermette

At one point during the day our booth even had some swing dancing happen. Here is somewhat blurry but fun picture of myself and my friend Dean doing some Lindy Hop.

Toronto Lindy Hop

Photo Courtesy of Blonde Moxie

Then there were more dancers…yay!

Toronto Lindy Hop

Amongst many of the wonderful visitors that stopped by the booth, one was Diane from the Costume Society of Ontario. She was wearing the most amazing Edwardian outfit! Don’t you just love it on her?

Costume Society of Ontario

After socializing and promoting TVS, I finally got my turn to head out to the show and do some shopping. I managed to pick up a couple of things but did not snag any clothes because I’m in saving mode for VIVA next month in Vegas, where I know I will be buying a lot of outfits.

Here are my purchases….

My kitschy Leather Poodle Pin..love it!

vintage poodle brooch

Second purchase was this absolutely gorgeous green 1950s hair piece with the more glorious feathers you have ever seen. It was being sold for $40 but some of the feathers needed a glue gun and so I managed to snag it for $20. Yippee! This baby is coming to Vegas with me.

1950s hair headband

Now I did not purchase this but a friend of mine did and it truly was the PURCHASE OF THE SHOW! 

A skirt out of Marimekko 1960’s fabric. They did not know the significance of the pattern or the fabric, which is why she only got it for 30$. It is signed too. Quite the find and you can read all about the extensive history of this brand here. Good job Erica!

marimekko

 

Now here are some pictures of what I wish I could have purchased.

Lets start with the granddaddy of them all…a 1950’s Vintage WITH TAGS Alfred Shaheen! I have never seen a for sale Shaheen in real life (online only) AND with tags. This dress was a unicorn at this show AND also too small for me. ugh 😦 If you are in Toronto it’s being sold at 69 Vintage on Queen St. West.

Alfred Shaheen

If you are an xsmall you could have taken home this beautiful 1950’s swimsuit! I just LOVE the buttons and the skirt portion and of course the fabric. Wonderful piece.

1950s vintage bathingsuit

Going to prom? Then this beautiful stunner of a 1950s prom dress would have been perfect.

FYI: The dress is still for sale at “House of Vintage” on Queen St West.

1950s vintage prom dress

Those were basically the only pictures I had time to take from the show but if you head over to the Toronto Vintage Society website you will see a wonderful post on the event.

On another note, I have been doing a pin-curl set lately with my hair instead of foam rollers and I’m really really enjoying how it is turning out.

vintage hairstyle

P.S. did you see my eyelashes?? Look how long and fantastic they look. I just recently got extensions put in by Shangri-Lash and I love them! Stay tuned for a review on that experience.

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In the end the whole day was a success and we ended up with a load of new members to our group and we met so many wonderful vintage shoppers! I look forward to getting to know many of them at future events.

Did you do any vintage shopping this weekend? Score any great deals?

Liz

 

Vintage Makeup Look How-To

Blog Post Share from Slice TVLouise Griew

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I’m so excited for the Toronto Vintage & Retro Society aka stylist extraordinaire Jacquie and my lovely makeup and hairstylist from my wedding Larissa from Blonde Moxie for this super tutorial that was featured on the Slice TV blog! Go team Vintage!

Check out the super helpful blog post- “How to recreate a vintage makeup look” HERE

Vintage-Makeup-How-to

Photography: Nanne Springer

Liz 🙂

How to dress for an “Electro Swing Party”-Picture Inspiration

This coming Friday I’m attending an Electro Swing party here in Toronto and I also happen to be one of the judges for the “Most Dashing Dolls and Dapper Dudes” contest representing the Toronto Vintage Society. My partner in crime is the lovely Irene from Petite Plus, Meow and we really excited to be helping out and cannot WAIT to see what everyone will be wearing. Don’t forget that the winners get to take home a gift certificate from Damzels, who sells some wonderful vintage inspired clothing.

Electro Swing Toronto

It’s going to a really fun night filled with great music and awesome clothes from the 1920s thru to 1940s. So in preparation for the event (or really ANY Electro Swing Event), I thought I would share some clothing images from 1920s-1940s to help you get inspired!

1920s

Women in the 1920s

1920s fashion

T-Strap Shoes

1920s-shoes

Miss Toronto

Cloche Hat, dark cupid bow lips, bobbed hair. VERY 1920’s here!

Louise Brooks

1920s men

Image courtesy of Reed College Centennial 1911-2011

1920s fashion

1920s fashion

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1930s

1930 fashion

1930s fashion

1930 womens fashion

1930s fashion

Image courtesy of “Live life in Style

1930s-mens-fashion

1930s fashion men

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1940s

1940's suits

1940s women's clothing

1940's womens clothing

saddle shoe ad

hair 1940s

1940's women's clothing pants

Rosie the Riveter

1940s clothing

1940s clothing

1940s clothing

1940s clothing

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Now what I have just briefly shown you is only the tip of the iceberg there are so many looks you can wear from the different eras, but these looks should hopefully get you at least started. Happy shopping!

Liz 🙂

Tiki-Tacky Retro Patio Party-the review

First off I’m super behind on posting all the fun events I attended this summer, so bear with me as I unload Summer 2013 on you over the next week or two 🙂

First up..Toronto Vintage and Retro Society “Tiki-Tacky Retro Patio Party” that happened in July at the always fun “Cadillac Lounge“. The event was created after the FB page reached 1000 followers and the creator wanted to thank all her fans by throwing a summer Tiki party. And as an active participate in this Facebook group I was thrilled to have been able to help plan and run the event along side other fab TVRS.

Here I am with the lovely Jacquie aka creator of the “society”

Toronto Vintage and Retro Society

(my blue and white Hawaiian dress is from Di Brooks-Outer limitz)

The Party

The day ended up being nice and warm and we really could not of asked for better Tiki party weather and I also think having such a nice day was truly the perfect backdrop.

So after a crazy morning rush of blowing up pink flamingos and hanging patio lanterns (amongst other décor) and me doing my best to not sweat my set right out off my head lol We were all set to party.

Here is some pics of our hard work.

Tiki Party

Pink Flamingo anyone? hehehe one of these guys ended up coming home with me 😉

Tiki Party

Oh dear the bar is closed 😦

Tiki Party

YAY the bar is open!

Tiki Party

Highlights from the party included an awesome Surf Band-The Calrizians, totally amazing raffle prizes (like a paddle boat lesson, pinup photo shoot and much more), a beautiful Tiki burlesque performance from the gorgeous Dolly Berlin and lastly a small vendor area to stock up on all things well…Tiki! 🙂 It was a jam-packed day of fun fun fun!

Here are some of the beautiful Tiki clothes (sorry for blurry pic)

Tiki Party

Awesome vintage Hawaiian outfits for sale

tiki party

One of the sponsors-Make Up For Ever

make up forever

The raffle and vendor table

tiki party

The Beautiful Dolly Berlin starting her burlesque performance

Dolly Berlin

We also had some yummy Tiki drinks at the event, complete with pink flamingo stir sticks

tiki drinks

Me and one of my gorgeous friends

Tiki party

Photo booth fun! Yes that is a flamingo between my legs lol!

tiki party

Winners of the best dressed prize! This family was on the ball when it came to planning coordinating Tiki Outfits.

tiki party

The party ended with dancing and a limbo contest

Tiki Party

The event was really fun and a wonderful success I just LOVED meeting everyone that attended and I look forward to future parties with all my fellow AND Future TVRS.

If you would like to check out some professional pictures of the event, please visit the following posts/links:

Courtney Reader-Photographer. This event was so great because it allowed myself and fellow TVRS to finally meet in person as opposed to just seeing our profiles on FB. One of the lovely fans was the delightful and talented Courtney Reader, who was dressed in the most beautiful Hawaiian top and cute head scarf that day. Her pics are beautiful as well as her post, so please check them out.

SNAP. SNAP Downtown Toronto is a FREE monthly print publication specializing in a “non-political” friendly and entertaining  photographic view of living in our community. They compiled many of the images from the event and wrote a lovely post about the party. So check it out as well.

Liz 🙂

Canadian National Exhibition is Here! The Vintage Edition

CNE-princes-gates-1920s

Princess Gates 1920s

I have been living in Toronto now for almost 14 years and one of the events I have grown to absolutely LOVE is the CNE-Canadian National Exhibition. The CNE is basically a giant fair that runs for 18 days near the end of the summer and it’s known for its great shows, crazy food (anyone for a bacon, donut burger??), rides and all the cools things to see..bring on the Sham Wow guy! lol

The first Canadian National Exhibition took place in 1879, largely to promote agriculture and technology in Canada. Agriculturists, engineers and scientists exhibited their discoveries and inventions at the CNE to showcase the work and talent of the nation (Wikipedia). Apparently, prior to 1879, the fair had traveled throughout the province, but eventually settled where the crowds were after local stakeholders campaigned to make it a permanent city attraction (blogto.com).

That means that this year the CNE is celebrating its 135th season this year so I thought it would be fun if we checked out some vintage photos, advertising etc. of this historical event. So grab a bag of chocolate covered parmesan popcorn and lets take a trip down CNE memory lane…

CNE 1937 Ad

Image courtesy of the CNE Archives

CNE advertising 1947 TTC Toronto

To start, I’m doing a blog series on the wonderful book “Lets Dance. A celebration of dance halls and summer dance pavilions by Peter Young” and one of the sections briefly covers the “CNE TENT” that was erected in 1938 to bring in top-notch entertainers. Acts like: Benny Goodman with Peggy Lee, Artie Shaw, Guy Lombardo and even the Tommy Dorsey Band made their way to this tent. In Peters book he even mentions a story how in September 8th of 1939 the Tommy Dorsey band flew to Toronto on the American Airlines flagship craft to appear at the CNE. This was the FIRST time the entire band travelled by air so they marked the occasion by playing a few tunes right at the airport (“Lets Dance..”, pg 23, Peter Young).

CNE dance tent

The image above was from 1940 and you can see the dance tent in the background where apparently Eddy Duchin and his Orchestra were performing that very night (“take a ride back in history” by Mike Filey).

Then while scouring the internet for fun images/stories to share I stumbled upon the most AMAZING FIND! Did you know that the CNE created their own high-kicking dance troupe version of the Rockettes? The Canadettes and they made annual appearances from 1951 until 1967 at the CNE. How fun!

CNE 1960s Toronto

The Canadettes, circa 1961. CNE Archives, Alexandra Studio Collection.

Now for the random vintage pictures I promised you…

Two ADORABLE kids enjoying a coke break in 1959

CNE-1959 Toronto

Photo courtesy of “CNE facebook page

CNE 1940’s cooking demo

CNE 1940 cooking demo Toronto

Photo courtesy of “CNE facebook page

CNE-1937. I LOVE this photo! The couple in the front that stand out in the picture are just outstanding looking.

CNE-1937 Toronto

Photo courtesy of “CNE facebook page

CNE-1961. I’m enjoying eyeballing some of the great fashion in the pic 🙂

CNE 1961 Toronto

Photo courtesy of “CNE facebook page

Want to learn how to take care of your baby in 1918?

CNE Babies 1918 Toronto

Image courtesy of the CNE Archives

I will now leave you with a picture from my engagement photo session that was done at the CNE

CNE Engagement photo Toronto Vintage Inn

Photo Courtesy of David Tom Photography

If you live in Toronto and are attending the CNE or have attended the CNE I would love to hear your stories of your favorite things to do there.

Liz 🙂