The Broadview Hotel is now open: in photos

The former Jilly's is now a stunning seven-storey space with two rooftop decks and three restaurants

The Broadview Hotel is finally open and welcoming guests after a three-year renovation and restoration process. Known to many Torontonians as the former site of strip club Jilly’s, the 125-year-old structure has been rebuilt from the inside out, and now plays host to 58 rooms, two (soon to be three) dining areas, and what is almost certainly the most jaw-dropping rooftop deck in all of east-end Toronto.


Natalia Manzocco

“It’s been a tough but amazing experience, for sure, to start with a building that was nearly falling down,” says Les Mallins, president of Streetcar Developments, who broke from their portfolio of condos to purchase the hotel in 2014. “And then there was learning a totally new business – we’re in condo/mixed-use development, but hotels and hospitality are something totally different. We took our lumps along the way, but we got to the finish line.”


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The design of the hotel, overseen by DesignAgency, took cues from the space’s many histories and incarnations since it first opened in 1891 as Dingman’s Hall (named for an Alberta oil entrepreneur). “Obviously, the building itself comes with a lot of character, a lot of layers of history. It gives us a lot of freedom to play off different eras and genres,” says DesignAgency’s Matt Davis.


Natalia Manzocco

The feel of the design is more historic and true to the building’s roots in ground-floor spaces like the Cafe/Bar – which is currently open to the public for drinks, coffee and dinner – and the still-under-construction Civic restaurant. The feel there is more Victorian, Davis says – right down to the wallpaper design, which was reproduced by an artist to match the original wallpaper uncovered on the walls, buried beneath decades’ worth of paper jobs, during the renovation process.


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As you ascend through the space, the feel becomes more and more modern, culminating in the seventh-floor rooftop lounge, which features indoor/outdoor space, as well as its own kitchen and bar. The soothing, botanical vibe extends to the outdoor patio, which has a separate dining room, nicknamed “The Cathedral,” refashioned from one of the building’s original turrets. The space will be available for rent for small dinners and receptions.


Natalia Manzocco


Natalia Manzocco

The time-hopping eclecticism extends to the room design. “The furniture in the suites is purposely mixed and matched in a series of different styles and periods, layering in a historic collection, almost, of ideas,” Davis says.


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Of course, this being the former Jilly’s, Davis and his team couldn’t resist sprinkling in a couple nods to the building’s past – like the “utility pole” in some of the rooms.


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Items from other Riverside businesses are featured in the space, including records from Tiny Record Shop (each room comes with a turntable and five albums, with more available for loan at the front desk). One selection: Feist’s The Reminder.


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Head between rooms via the stairwell and you’ll find a series of murals by local design studio Supermilk giving nods to the area’s history.


Natalia Manzocco

On top of that gorgeous roof deck, there’s one other main point of interest for locals: the food program, spearheaded by Table 17’s John Sinopoli and Erik Joyal. “We wanted the menu to be very of Toronto,” Sinopoli says. “We didn’t want people to come in and say, ‘Oh, this is very Miami, very L.A.’. We wanted people to say, ‘This is very Toronto.’”

For the Civic, the Broadview’s incoming flagship restaurant set to open in early September, that meant a turn-of-the-century-inspired dinner menu hearkening back to what might be served in a hotel kitchen when the Broadview first made its debut in 1901: steaks, chops, whole roasted birds, tartares. Part of that menu is currently being rolled out in the Cafe/Bar space, including a mouth-watering burger.


Natalia Manzocco

For the modern rooftop deck, there’s a more globally inspired, of-the-moment snack menu featuring foie gras toasts, ceviches and – in a nod to the Great Lakes – fried smelts. “I was like, John, what are you putting on the menu here?” Mallins says. “He’s like, ‘Trust me.'”


Natalia Manzocco

Topping it all off is a sizable wine, beer and cocktail program, plus coffee sourced from Barocco in Mississauga. “We’re a large-volume venue, but we haven’t gone for large-volume selections,” Sinopoli says.


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The cocktails are pouring, the patio’s open – and if you want to stay the night, rooms start at $309. | @nataliamanzocco

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