The Gladstone was originally built in 1889 across from the Parkdale Railroad Station. (In the b&w photo opposite, taken in 1897, the hotel’s rooftop tower overlooks the Queen & Dufferin Railway Bridge.)
Originally, this was a luxurious hostelry, serving railway passengers and visitors to the nearby Canadian National Exhibition. The owner, Susanna Robinson, a widow, lived there with her thirteen children. But over the years, the Gladstone became a bit of a flophouse, until it was rescued by the Tippin and Zeidler families about 10 years ago.
The Gladstone is now managed by Christina Zeidler, whose goal has been making the hotel fit into the surrounding community. To that end, hotel employees found new homes for longterm residents, especially those who were elderly and most at risk. Then all 37 rooms were re-designed by TORONTO artists, and a year ‘round program of art, special events and music was put into place. The Gladstone is an important part of our city’s cultural landscape.
In a country known for its human rights violations and chronic food shortages, cash was found to build two subway lines completely underground.
Tourists are usually allowed to visit only two spectacular stations – the rest are off limits. The showplace stations are underground palaces, with high arched ceilings, marble pillars, chandeliers and mosaic murals on the history of North Korea. Each station has a public toilet, and state radio programs are broadcast over loudspeakers. Hours of operation are limited because of power shortages.
PHOTOS – Kristoferb, Wikipedia
Riverdale Park and Farm, the Cabbagetown neighbourhood, and a steep tobogganing hill, are a short streetcar ride from the centre of Canada’s largest city. Subway stop: COLLEGE, and then eastbound car #506 to Parliament Street.