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The “Fireproof” King Edward Hotel

November 19, 2012

fire·proof/ˈfī(ə)rˌpro͞of/: Able to withstand fire or great heat.

Did you know that shortly after The King Edward Hotel opened in 1903, it began to advertise that the hotel was “absolutely fireproof”?
A 1908 guest booklet, created by then Directing Hotel Manager William C. Bailey, stated that The King Edward hotel was not only a luxurious and regal place to stay in downtown Toronto (as it still is today), but also indestructible by fire (fingers crossed!).  Interestingly and fortunately over the years, this rather confident claim has withstood the test of time – but perhaps might still be considered a bit self-serving, self-satisfying and far-reaching…knock on wood (or at least concrete and steel)!
Nevertheless, the fireproof claim – no doubt – comes from the extensive amount of prime concrete and quality building materials that went into constructing this grand hotel.  
(Construction begins on The King Edward Hotel in September 1901)
(Condition of construction by December 1901)
Little did the early founders and builders know about the future of computer technology – fast forward a century to the then unknown age of WiFi and Internet when attempts were made to set up WiFi throughout the hotel.  Unfortunately, it was one of the more difficult challenges the hotel had to overcome within the past few years – but like all modern hotels today – WiFi is now available to all guests in the lobby and in the comfort of every guest room.
But back to being a “fireproof” hotel…
(Inner cover of guest booklet)
The guest booklet claims that The King Edward Hotel is “an absolutely fireproof hotel with 400 rooms, 300 with baths.” Thank goodness today all guest rooms now have baths, showers and toilets!
To see this booklet in full, please click on this link to the Toronto Public Library Special Collections page.
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From → architecture, history

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