The LGBTQ History in Room 303: Lucky Stryke

May 29, 2019 Author—Alexa Gargoum Posted in—Uncategorized

Last year HGTV’s Tommy Smythe came on board to design a brand new Gladstone Hotel room, appropriately named Lucky Stryke.

Smythe’s Lucky Stryke Room is inspired by the history of Toronto’s queer culture as traced through a collection of matchbooks from queer bars and restaurants. According to Smythe matchbooks—especially those provided by LGBTQ establishments—are like little maps to secret places. Some of the bars and clubs of Toronto’s past didn’t even post signage outside. The addresses and phone numbers printed on matchbooks handed out inside might have been the only clue to the promise of adventure and connection for the curious outsider.

Alongside longtime Gladstone staff member (and artist behind the Gladstone Hotel’s Today Room) Suanne McGregor, Tommy spent hours at Toronto’s Gay and Lesbian archives digging up matchbooks from decades past – a laborious pursuit that was worth it! Finding gems along the way – Tommy traced and recreated each matchbook using bold colours.

“At the time, these establishments were the only safe gathering places for LGBTQ locals as well as visitors,” says Smythe. In the spirit of that hospitality, and in the ongoing spirit of the Gladstone and all it stands for, we celebrate these long lost watering holes and dancefloors. Just like the matchbooks; there was fire inside.”

Smythe joined the ranks of TV personality Bob Blumer and award-winning artists Bruno Billio and Allison Mitchell who have all designed rooms at the hotel.

Tommy Smythe’s contagious enthusiasm and fun loving approach to decor and renovating have made him an international design world favorite. A career spanning more than 18 years has left no stone unturned in getting the message of good, practical and beautiful design to his many followers through television, print media, social media and popular speaking engagements. Known for his warm and personal mixture of fine art, vintage, antique and modern furnishings pulled together with a cutting edge color sense, Tommy never lets it all feel too serious.