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


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:

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 🙂

My Vintage Finds from “Jack Lux Vintage”-Toronto’s New Pop Up Vintage Store

Recently Toronto was blessed with a temporary new vintage store called “Jack Lux Vintage” a Toronto pop-up (536 Queen St. West) that is only here for a short 3 months or so (started July 23rd, 2014).

JackLux Vintage Clothing store Toronto


About the Store:

The store has one of the largest vintage collections in Canada much of which was acquired from Centre National du Costume (2005) which was a costuming trust established by the Quebec Government to curate and identify a wide-ranging (1920’s – 1990’s) and diverse vintage collection to be used by all the filmmakers and production houses that were shooting in the province of Quebec.  When the government’s changed — the organization was dismantled and JackLux was able to acquire the vast collection — which at last count included more than 200, 000 items of men, women and children’s apparel and accessories.

They have now brought those vintage pieces to Toronto and are selling them at low low prices of $20, $30, $40 and some a bit higher (with new pieces coming in all the time). Many of the vintage clothes need a bit of love to make them look new again and some just need to find the right buyer who is okay with some wear and tear that is unfix-able. But honestly who is going to complain with a $30, 1940s dress in their hands??? NOT ME!

Toronto Vintage Clothing Store

Inside the store

The store has gotten the vintage community here in Toronto very excited and I know many of my friends have already made several purchases since it first opened. I personally have already been to the store multiple times and have walked away with several wonderful 1940’s and 50’s dresses (which you will see below).  Also if you are not a fan of the 40s and 50s like me, there are plenty of clothes from the 1960’s up to the 1990’s to fit anyones vintage shopping needs. And Guys…they have a whole section for you of coats, suit jackets, shirts, pants and shoes so you too need to stop by too. Looking for a Halloween costume? How about some adorable vintage clothes for your little kids? Jack Lux has got you covered. The back room of the store has a section for kids and a section of costumes like a medieval dress..or 2. Oh! there is also plus sizes! I have found several dresses for the beautiful plus size figure.

Now without further adieu lets take a look at my recent visit to the store and the vintage dresses I have now added to my collection.

JackLux Vintage clothing store Toronto

Clothes all the way to ceiling!

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Tie’s and racks and racks of clothing

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Pretty Skirts with pretty prices 🙂

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

So many hats from the 40s all the way up to the 90s (large number are late 50’s and early 60s)

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

I really like the yellow hat with the bow in the middle of these hats

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Lots of Men’s Jackets and even some dinner jackets

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Adorable Children’s Vintage Clothes

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

So many shoes and right into large sizes

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

They also have Capes. Sherlock Holmes look anyone?

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

1950s dresses with marvelous prints and buttons

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Beautiful 1940s dresses with amazing details

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Men’s shirts with totally cool patterns

Now what I have gotten at Jack Lux (I’m not a model so excuse the bad photos lol):

Dress from JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

My First Dress: Super pretty 1940s swing dress. Can’t WAIT to take this out onto the dance floor

1940s Vintage Dress from JackLux Vintage Toronto

1940s Dress-The Green is much more vivid in real life and there is a bit of fading but still beautiful

1940's Vintage Dress JackLux Vintage

Super Serious me IN My FAVORITE dress! 1940s dress with very little flaws (minor).

1950s Dress from JackLux Vintage Toronto

1950’s Vintage Shirt Waist Dress. Will be so great for Fall

And there is what I bought my friends.

REMINDER! Jack Lux is only here a short time and they are bringing in new pieces all the time so make sure you hit up the store as many times as you can to stock up your vintage collection because before you know will be gone and so will those amazing prices!

Happy Shopping! If you have gone shopping there, would love to know what you bought. Let me know!

P.S. In around August 29th, the Vintage Inn will have 2 Mannequins on display in the front window with outfits I picked from the store, stop on by and check them out.

Liz 🙂

JackLux Vintage Clothing Store Toronto

Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade: 1920s-1950s Holiday Fun!

This Sunday is Toronto’s 109th’s annual Santa Claus Parade.  When it originally started on December 2, 1905 by the Eaton’s chain of department stores, it had just a single float. It now has over 25 floats, 24 bands, and 1,700 participants (Wikipedia).

With that much history lets take the Vintage Inn Time Travel Bus and see what past parades looked like from the 1920s-1950s.

Note: Vintage Fashion Lovers-The crowd pictures when you look close enough have some lovely vintage fashion. Happy Hunting 🙂


Santa and his Reindeer

Eaton's Santa Claus Parade, Santa Claus & reindeer on curve. - November 20, 1926


The Cloche hats and coats are just lovely in these pictures

Eaton's Santa Claus Parade, Noah's ark & animals. - November 20, 1926



History Fact: In 1939 when the Second World War brought on shortages, organizers were forced to make the elaborate costumes out of paper (A Century of Memories by Citynews)

Toronto Santa Claus Parade 1930s


I love that the road is dirt in these two pictures, hard to imagine that this was even so in a city with concrete and asphalt everywhere now

Toronto Santa Claus Parade




History Fact: In 1952 the parade was televised for the first time, appearing on CBC (A Century of Memories by Citynews)

1956 Parade-The baton twirling ladies are fantastic looking!

Toronto Santa Claus Parade 1956


Love the costumes below

Toronto Santa Claus Parade 1956


Fun in the Snow!

Toronto Santa Claus Parade 1956


To end here is an excellent short historic overview of some of the most memorable moments in the parades history (some I stated above already):

“A Century of Memories-The History of Toronto’s Santa Parade”


Will you be attending your own cities Santa Claus Parade? Or do they do other cool traditions for the holiday season?