d.a. small hotel


Why I Love The Drake Hotel: Celebrating life moments

Before the Gold Medal match between Canada and Sweden commenced at Sochi for the Winter Olympics, myself along with a number of other half-awake patriotic Canadians stood up in The Drake Hotel and sang the national anthem. The events following included 6 a.m. beer, an avocado bagel and roar of applause when Canada beat Sweden 3-0, reclaiming our title as Olympic champions.

A video posted by Toronto | Stephan Petar (@whyilovetoronto) on Feb 23, 2014 at 6:26am PST

I have celebrated many memorable moments with the hotel and have taken a number of pictures in the photo booth to prove it. I have been to the venue multiple times for events including: 

  • Y2K Party: The Millennial Video Dance Party
  • Scotianbank CONTACT Photography Festival
  • A disco themed New Year’s Eve party titled Stardust, possibly after one of the hotels previous incarnations
  • Halloween, where I’ve attended as The Cat in the Hat and Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty
  • Drake Trivia, which I suck at FYI
  • A Poetry Slam or two
  • Concerts by Elle King, Jesse Labelle and more
  • An Oscar viewing party with film critic Richard Crouse
  • A panel titled Fashion 2.0: The Rise of the Bloggers, which taught me I should not think of myself as a blogger, but as an entrepreneur
  • A number of brunches to celebrate work milestones, engagements  and new jobs

(Photo booth fun after Halloween)

I have celebrated many moments of discovery and inspiration at The Drake Hotel. I truly believe the same can be said for others who have visited the property over its many incarnations in the past century.  

Over 100 years of history

The hotel first opened as the D.A. Small’s Hotel in 1890 at a time when the area was a major Canadian Pacific Railway transit hub. Since then the property has been named Hotel Cecil and Stardust before being named The Drake in 1949. It was this era where additions including the grand staircase, lounge and restaurant were constructed. In 2001, Drake Hotel Properties purchased the building and did a lengthy renovation transforming the hotel into the property known today. The official re-opening was in 2004. 

The spaces where memories are made

The venue has many amazing rooms featuring an array of events. Here are some of my top spots:


This is where most of the concerts, dance parties, burlesque shows and panel discussions occur. The venue hosts a number of bands from up and comers to established names in every genre. While I have seen a few concerts here, my time in the Underground consists of dancing the night away during the monthly Y2K Party: The Millennial Video Dance Party, which plays all the hits including: What’s Luv, Slave 4 U and Case of the Ex.

(Image by me of Fashion 2.0: Rise of the Bloggers)


If I’m not dancing in the Underground I’m dancing in the Lounge. I’ve celebrated two Halloween’s in this room and watched a Team Canada game at 6 a.m. It is also where my taste buds explode every time I have breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner here. If I’m not eating here then I’m at the cafés street level patio enjoying that perfect bite.  

Sky Yard

Sky Yard is by far my favourite rooftop patio in the city. I have enjoyed birthday brunches and late night drinks on this cozy patio. The colours pop in the sunlight, the artwork is beautiful and at night the lights give it a backyard patio feel. They also have heaters for those cold nights.  

(I ordered the A Clockwork Orange)

The Food

The food is mouthgasmic. My strategy to picking a meal is to find a dish with a name that makes my mouth water. This method to food selection has yet to let me down. I have enjoyed every meal occasion here and have eaten some of the following dishes: Drake Breakfast, Drake Granola, Smoked Salmon Bagel, Avocado Toast, Drake Benny and Chicken + Waffle, Squid Ink Pasta, Lobster Nachos, Kale Gnocchi, Chocolate + Banana Dacquoise.

(The Drake used to have Huevos Rancheros on their menu)

Come celebrate

I have had plenty of wonderful experiences at The Drake Hotel. Whether I was discovering a new band, learning something at a panel, having a drool worthy meal or dancing dressed as a Disney Prince, the hotel has been a part of my life ever since I turned 19.  

(Celebrating Mel’s 23 birthday at the Sky Yard)