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The Crystal Ballroom

November 18, 2012


In 1921, a tower was added to The King Edward Hotel – the original section of the hotel was  built in 1903.  Atop Toronto’s first skyscraper luxury hotel was the magnificent and spacious Crystal Ballroom – named for its glorious crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The addition of 530 guest rooms made the King Edward Hotel the largest hotel in Canada until the Royal York hotel was built in 1929. 

The Ballroom was the most majestic “it” place to be in the city of Toronto for elaborate dinners, galas, luncheons, business conventions and wedding receptions – as The King Edward hotel continues to be today.

Back in the day, keeping in custom with the times,  the Crystal Ballroom was “the” place for debutante introductions to high-society, with many a young lady robed in their finest flowing gowns being “shown off” to admiring eyes.

It was even the place for major social announcements – like when Jonas Salk developed a cure for polio.

The Crystal Ballroom has also played host as “the happening place” to be during the big-band era, with live big-band and  jazzy music filling the sights and sounds of the expansive space for weekend dancing or ringing in the New Year – until it was closed down in the late 1950s.

(The type of music that would have played in The Crystal Ballroom)

The Crystal Ballroom also had one of the best top panoramic views of Toronto – with floor to ceiling windows facing north, east and south to Lake Ontario (which was even closer to the hotel before landfill and buildings extended out on top of where the lake used to be).

KE Lake

The Crystal Ballroom has spectacularly detailed and intricate crown moldings around the walls and ceiling.

Unfortunately, with the change in times, and a change of more strict fire-code regulations in the 1950s (the Ballroom has limited stairway and elevator access), the Crystal Ballroom was closed.

And so the Crystal Ballroom has sat empty – only echoing the great and lively sounds of its past.

Although the Crystal Ballroom has not been used as it was in the past for large and fabulous functions, there have been several movie and television scenes and music videos filmed in the space with a limited number of people.

The Ballroom (due to its enormous space) was rented out to a Persian carpet seller to roll-out a fine display of rich carpets befitting the royal hotel, and it was even used for fly-fishing reel lessons and archery lessons – with ceilings so high and mighty, they would be fit for a king like Edward. And of course, anyone fortunate enough to take part in Doors Open Toronto in recent years will know how incredible a space the Crystal Ballroom is – even just to have a limiting peak for one day in the year.

 Throughout the years there has been talk of restoring this regal space to its former glory, but further extensive renovations were required.  

Fortunately, plans are now in place to do so – making it a fully-functioning and lively regal space once again.

( Michael Cooper, CEO of Dundee Realty, and Gil Blutrich Founder & President of Skyline Hotels and Resorts)

Recently, several social media sites have shown interest in showcasing this dormant but still stately and grand space. The following links are some of them:


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