Since reopening in February 2004 as part of the rise of West Queen West, The Drake Hotel has served as one of the unofficial epicentres of Toronto's indie and hipster scene. While the property is perhaps best known for its bohemian vibe and after-hours nightlife, it remains a sought-after boutique hotel, though the 1890-built structure's size limited the number of rooms to just 19. Plans for expansion were floated around as early as 2011, with a Site Plan Approval application filed that year seeking a four-storey addition to east of the existing hotel.

The Drake Hotel and associated properties, image retrieved from Google Street View

After a few years of inactivity, the expansion plans resurfaced on January 20, 2016, when the City of Toronto's Committee of Adjustment (CoA) granted conditional approval of seven variances to zoning by-laws, permitting the construction of a 32-room expansion to The Drake. Most recently, a Site Plan Approval application has been filed with the City, which is giving us a look at the plans that now sport a fifth storey.

Looking north across Queen to The Drake Hotel expansion, image by Diamond Schmitt Architects

The modern expansion with vestiges of the past would replace three Victorians to the east, recently the home of The Drake General Store which has since moved across the street to a new flagship location. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the addition would include a third level connection to the existing hotel property over The Drake's rooftop patio, along with a stepped-back fifth floor which partly cantilevers over the open space.

Looking northeast into the rooftop patio area with bridge at the back, image by Diamond Schmitt Architects

A brick exterior will maintain the Victorian character of the neighbourhood, while conspicuously bricking up the old windows of two of the existing buildings, and punching new ones through in a very modern way. Due to its mid-block situation built up to abutting lot lines, the expansion features a mid-building light well which spans from the 5th floor down to the second, allowing sunlight to penetrate into rooms in the heart of the building. Windows in the light well are angled in a way that maximizes privacy for guests.

Looking northwest, with lightwell showing, image by Diamond Schmitt Architects

We will return with additional information as further details about the project emerge. In the meantime, you can find more renderings in our dataBase file for the project, linked below, get in on the conversation by visiting our associated Forum thread, or you can also share your comments in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  Blackwell, Diamond Schmitt Architects