Beverly Hills Motor Hotel was once located at 1677 Wilson Ave, west of Jane St, in the Oakdale-Beverley Heights area of Toronto.
The Beverly Hills was owned and operated by Jack Fisher, and in 1965, professional heavyweight champion boxer Rocky Marciano attended the official opening. The hotel had eight drinking rooms headed by the swingin’ 850-seat Hook & Ladder Club. It was the largest lounge in the Toronto area and featured old fire engine motifs. Even though the hotel was in the North York area of the city, it was a huge entertainment success, attracting big-name entertainers, including Brenda Lee, Cab Calloway, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Vale, Billy Daniels, Frankie Lane, Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, Frank Gorshin and Jerry Reed.
The Beverly Hills had a gourmet restaurant, the Pagoda Coffee House and hosted weddings, meetings and fashion shows.
In the late 1960s, as far as entertainment, the hotel was in competition with the Royal York Hotel. They featured the same or similar performers; however, since the Beverly Hills had more seating, they could charge a lower cover fee of $2 to 2.50, depending on the entertainer. In contrast, Royal York’s opulent 225-seat Imperial Room had a cover charge of $4 on weekdays and $6 on weekends.
In 1968, the Seaway chain purchased the Beverly Hills retaining Jack Fisher and put him in charge of all Seaway Hotel operations. Five years later, the hotel was expanded and featured a 150-room tower, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a health club, two cinemas, shops, a gourmet dining room and more.
In the late 1970s, the Hook & Ladder Club was converted into an old English-style theatre restaurant called His Majesty’s Feast.
The hotel had a few name changes during its time, including becoming the Ramada Inn, Days Hotel, and lastly, the Toronto Plaza Hotel.
In 2016, the City of Toronto began using the hotel to house 500 asylum seekers and those experiencing homelessness. In 2019, the 7-acre site was sold to developers for $20.4 million. The following year, 1677 Wilson Ave became a COVID-19 shelter. While there are plans to redevelop the property, the city retains its use until 2024.
Beverly Hills Motor Hotel Photos
- The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Jun 2, 1965, pg 31
- The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Oct 8, 1968, pg B11
- The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Oct 26, 1968, pg 26
- The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Oct 27, 1972, pg 17
- The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Nov 9, 1972, pg 15
- Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Jul 29, 1978, pg D4
- The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Aug 12, 1983, pg E4
- City of Toronto: Temporary Shelter: 1677 Wilson Ave
- CBC: Hotel housing hundreds…
- Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
- Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives
- Street Photo: 1677 Wilson Ave from Google Maps
- Toronto Yellow Pages 1969 courtesy of Toronto Public Library