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Westin Harbour Castle (?, ?, ?)

mjl08

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I hope they leave the original hotel in tact, just to break away from the sea of glass in South Core.

However, I won't shed a tear if that convention centre/bunker gets imploded.
 

Skeezix

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I hope this is what happens to the entire complex:

Demolition.gif


(Although it sounds from the article that the site will likely be intensified, with the existing hotel preserved, with only perhaps the convention fortress being demolished)
 

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There was a posting a few months ago in another thread (I think the Lower Yonge Precinct discussions) about this hotel and at that time it appeared that the idea was to demolish and probably rebuild the conference centre part of it. I actually cut and pasted the following to a colleague.

"I was working at the Westin Harbour Castle yesterday and the manager that I was dealing with was very candid about the situation that they find themselves in where the hotel has its back turned on to a world class street, that their door step is built for cars on a now pedestrian focused realm.

Its presence on Queens Quay is in fact actively hostile to pedestrians with a maze of driveways full of cars and no sidewalks. The only pedestrian entrance is through a narrow hallway up several stairs and hidden away from view.


He said that they're currently in the process of redoing all their rooms and hallways and that once finished, they will shift their focus to the outside.

One way to improve is to bring their entrance closer to Queens Quay behind a simple Porte Cochère with escalators inside leading to the existing lobby.

One very interesting thing that he said is that "it will really affect us to lose the convention centre". I didn't know that this had been confirmed. Their property to the north will be redeveloped.

This is an excellent opportunity for a land swap and/or density transfer. Building a shiny new hotel tower on their convention centre land could open up the possibility of demolishing the old hotel and replacing it with a low rise building more suitable to the waterfront with an extension of Jack Layton ferry terminal park in the symbolically significant location at the foot of Yonge Street. Perhaps the city could grant them increased density at their north location in exchange for the park land with low rise commercial uses such as restaurants in the existing hotel land.

I don't expect that this will happen soon as they're refurbishing the hotel now but once the new Ferry Terminal is being built, when the foot of Yonge Street plans are being discussed and plans for the convention centre space come into focus, I hope that Waterfront Toronto is there to usher in an overall master plan that will serve everyone better. This is a huge opportunity and I hope we don't miss it.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I hope this is what happens to the entire complex:

(Although it sounds from the article that the site will likely be intensified, with the existing hotel preserved)

Which is a worse outcome, unless they dramatically update the exterior structure (and not in a Simpsons Tower kind of way)

"I was working at the Westin Harbour Castle yesterday and the manager that I was dealing with was very candid about the situation that they find themselves in where the hotel has its back turned on to a world class street, that their door step is built for cars on a now pedestrian focused realm.

Its presence on Queens Quay is in fact actively hostile to pedestrians with a maze of driveways full of cars and no sidewalks. The only pedestrian entrance is through a narrow hallway up several stairs and hidden away from view.

The problem isn't just with Queen's Quay - the structure is fundamentally hostile to its' surrounding on all sides. I am not sure why they can't just rebuild the hotel, convention centre and all on the site north of QQ - it is probably large enough.

Given the foot of Yonge site of the existing building, whatever gets built must be iconic (and not in the condo marketing kind of way).

AoD
 
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FMCS

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I hope they update the building but keep the exterior similar to what it is....such a iconic building in Toronto.
 

Skeezix

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I hope they update the building but keep the exterior similar to what it is....such a iconic building in Toronto.

Certainly there is a familiarity with the complex, given its prominent location. But being conspicuous does not make it iconic, as the latter terms suggests it is symbolic and/or representative of the city. I hope it isn't (symbolic or representative, that is), except perhaps in the sense of being emblematic of errors made in Toronto decades ago.

I'm not sure there is much to recommend about the exterior. The word "eyesore" comes to mind. It's disastrous at street level, the podium looks like a parking garage, and the best thing I can say about the towers is that they are unremarkable without any defining elements. The complex is even a poor example of brutalism in Toronto. And the conference centre is just a concrete bunker. The one interesting component of the entire complex is the revolving restaurant, which in its own way speaks to fine dining and nights out in the 1970s, but as I understand the thing hasn't actually revolved in years.
 

mjl08

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My concern? That they are going attempt to "modernize" the original hotel like the Simpson's Tower at 401 Bay. They'll do a modest reno with new windows and cladding and make it look remarkably worse than its current state, even if you despise brutalism.

Thatb being said, I'm all for destroying the conference centre and pedestrian bridge
 

Skeezix

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The Simpson's Tower, while by no means perfect, has (had) an interesting design and is an example of pretty good office architecture from the period. The Harbour Castle does not have the same redeeming qualities. While I should never discount our city's ability to take a bad situation and make it worse, I'm not as concerned about attempts to "modernize" it. But obviously I'd much rather they bulldozed it.
 

Kitsune

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I say keep it - but change the entrance, and demo the bunker and replace it with something taller then the current hotel and make it iconic.
 

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