Renovation transforms Edwin Hotel

$3.8-million renovation transforms Edwin Hotel from rooming house to affordable housing.

Originally posted on Yonge Street, by Bert Archer

As of this week, the New Edwin Hotel has a new lease on life, thanks to Woodgreen Community Services.

After four years and $3.8 million, The Edwin is taking its first clients this week as a 28-unit affordable housing space catering to homeless senior men.

Built in 1905 as a hotel to serve passengers transferring at the Don Rail Station down the hill in the valley, the Edwin Hotel at 650 Queen Street East at Carroll has been a community centre of sorts ever since, even though the station it was built to serve had been declining since the 1930s and finally shut down more than 40 years ago.

It survived for a time primarily as a hotel, then much of its business began focusing on the bar, which became a strip club in the 1950s and remained a night club of one description or another until the late 1980s, when it became a rooming house. According to Suzanne Duncan, Woodgreen's director of philanthropy, the rooming house charged as much as $500 a month for each of its 50 plywood-walled units, many of which were windowless.

The new units, all with windows, bathrooms and kitchen facilities, will be geared to tenants' Ontario Disability pensions, with rent usually coming out between $250 and $300 a month.

Designed by the College Street firm of Levitt Goodman Architects, the new facility retains the hotel's original terrazzo floors, and according to Wendy Shaw, Woodgreen's manager of facilities development, the big Nightclub sign, which she says dates in its current form from the 1980s, will either be changing or coming down in the near future.

Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Suzanne Duncan, Wendy Shaw

Posted on Yonge Street

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