Top 10 of the Decade: Hotel Highlights from the 2010s

January 10, 2020 Author—Alexa Gargoum Posted in—Hotel News

What a decade it’s been! This year’s NYE countdown was the perfect moment to pause and look back on the decade of Instagram (that’s right, Instagram launched in the fall of 2010!). What were the 10s all about? From art to artist incubations to hotel renovations, here are our top 10 hotel happenings of the last decade!

2014: Shepard Fairy Mural

The gorgeous Obey Giant mural is forever part of our building, tattooed on our back for everyone to see! While making the stunning mural, Shepard Fairy invited students from Oasis Skateboard Factory to come and learn about being an artist. Here’s what was said back then: “We are proud and honoured to have world-renowned street artist Shepard Fairey pick Gladstone hotel as the canvas for his gift to Toronto.”

2016: Ferris Bueller Room

Sarah Keenlyside and Joseph Clement’s CUTMR 2016 replica of Ferris Bueller’s bedroom had all the details down to a tee, providing guests a chance to immerse themselves in the world of the iconic film.  The project went viral, garnering press from all the national media outlets and beyond. Here’s what was said back then: “I wanted to make a bedroom, first and foremost. Then we’re playing with the concept of recreation and whether that’s even possible. Can you bring the past into the present?”

2018First Hotel in Ontario to Certify as B-Corp

This was a huge milestone for the hotel, being recognized for sustainable and socially responsible business practices. We’re continually working with the B-Corp community to learn and grow. Here’s what we said back then: “In becoming B Corp certified, we hope to encourage our guests, employees, vendors, cultural partners, and fellow artists to consider our values and reflect what this could mean on a global scale.”

2013The Launch of Grow-Op

The Exchange, Stomata Collective

Every year artists bring more beautiful projects to life at this annual exhibition exploring Urbanism, Environment, and Landscape Design. Here’s what was said back then: “Grow Op will explore new territories and uncover new ways of expression and meaning through projects that represent a wide range of approaches from the prosaic to the poetic, the elemental to the ephemeral.

2016: The Art Hut Doughnut Shop Takeover

Work by Michael Cuomo in the Art Hut, 2016

Sadly the Art Hut — both the project and the building itself — is no longer. But we’ll forever be grateful to Skale Developments for giving us the opportunity to curate the former doughnut shop across the street.  Here’s what was said back then: “The empty storefront will become a condo sales centre, and eventually a multi-story condominium will go up. Until then, we’re transforming it into an art gallery and incubator for up-and-coming Toronto artists.”

Top Hotel Rooms of the 10s

Room 317 – Aura Room
Room 303 – Lucky Stryke
Room 403 – Surreal Gourmet

Room 403, Surreal Gourmet, Room 303, Lucky Stryke, and Room 317, the Aura Room are all bright and colourful renditions of the stories their artists tell.  Here’s what we said when launching Surreal Gourmet in 2013: “Blumer “had a blast” designing and, in most cases, fabricating the pieces that bring the Surreal Gourmet Room to life, from scratch.”

2015The Birth of Music Bingo

Weekly events are a dime a dozen in Toronto. The fact that Wednesday’s Music Bingo series continues to draw crowds speaks volumes about host Kaleb Robertson’s knack for creating community spaces and entertaining crowds. Plus bingo is just a whole lot of fun! Here’s what Kaleb said back at the start: A safe space means I’m not saying anything racist, homophobic, or ableist. So for example, Music Bingo’s all about fun, but I will still call shit out if it’s relevant. If Cher’s “Gypsy’s Tramps and Thieves” comes on, I will say, “This song could never be made now, could it?” or, “This isn’t OK is it?” 

2018: Introducing Drag Brunch

The Gladstone partnered with this fabulous Toronto Drag Queen to launch Drag Brunch in 2018. Since then the event has exceeded any of our wildest dreams, attracting sold-out crowds, celebrities, and even Toronto Fire Services! Here’s what they’ve said about Drag Brunch: “Whether it’s pulling her famous move, a ‘wig snatch,’ (pulling off her wig to reveal another one underneath), or doing a handstand up against a passing streetcar (yes, that happened) outside the hotel on Queen West, [Miss Moco is] here for your entertainment.” – Jen Kirsch, Toronto Star, 2019

2017Welcoming the West End Phoenix Newspaper Residency

West End Phoenix Editor Dave Bidini presents their latest issue to Prime Minister Trudeau in the gallery in 2019.

The Phoenix has found a creative home in the hotel’s second-floor flex spaces from where they create important and inspiring stories about Toronto’s west end. Back at the start of the residency, we wrote: “Our love of print, coupled with our desire to connect with our community, make this exciting venture a perfect fit for the Gladstone.” Since then the partnership has produced all kinds of excitement, including a visit from the Prime Minister!

2016: Baroness Von Sketch Writes & Films Episodes at the Hotel

What a whirlwind of fun it was to have the now-legendary Baroness Von Sketch show in the hotel. Not only did they write many of their skits in our corner suite, but they also filmed much of Season 2 at the Gladstone. Back in 2016, we had the chance to sit down for an interview with this amazing crew. Jennifer Whalen told us, “We had a wonderful time working at the Gladstone and everyone has been amazing. I just love that we’re part of this really awesome rock and roll tradition of creating great stuff in the hotel.” Carolyn Taylor added, “I can’t even imagine what this writing experience would have been like if we weren’t here.”