The Silver Dollar Room & the Hotel Waverly, still standing after all these years

The Hotel Waverly opened in 1900, making it an elder among downtown TORONTO hotels in continuous operation.  Adjacent to the Scott Mission and the Silver Dollar Room, the Waverly provides low rent accomodation in Spadina Avenue’s Chinatown.  There’s evidence that James Earl Ray stayed at the Waverly while hiding out in TORONTO after shooting Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was also the longtime home of poet Milton Acorn, several of whose works depicts life in the neighbourhood.  In popular culture the hotel was the opening scene of the Elmore Leonard novel Killshot and was also featured in the film version.

<Hotel Waverly, 484 Spadina Avenue, photo – SimonP/wikipedia>

The Silver Dollar Room at 486 Spadina, began as the Waverly’s cocktail lounge 50 years ago, and is now one of TORONTO’s top blues, punk, soul, bluegrass, indie, garage, folk venues.  The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Downchild Blues Band and Blind Boys of Alabama are just three of the multitude of performers who’ve graced the Silver Dollar stage.

Bluegrass guitarist, Chris Coole: “I know it sounds cliché, but the Silver Dollar has got a lot of history.  I love to play in an old bar that has a lot of atmosphere in it, that hasn’t been built in the last five years.  At the Silver Dollar, the feeling is really there.”

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