Openings: The 1 Hotel Toronto Brings Eco-Chic to Ontario’s Capital

Images by Brandon Barre

We love Canada…a lot. And for seventeen months, knowing that she was right there on the other side of out northern border, and not being allowed to see her, well…it left us feeling a particular sort of melancholy.

Should the Delta Variant not have other ideas, however, we’re now ready to resume our regular trips to the North. And as next month’s Toronto Film Festival (September 9-18, in a hybrid physical/digital form) especially beckons, we’re very much excited for the debut of 1 Hotels’ first Canadian property, which obviously goes by the name 1 Hotel Toronto. Located smack in the center of Ontario’s busy-buzzy capital, it’s just up the street from Victoria Memorial Square, in burgeoning King West Village (Travel + Leisure called it “Canada’s coolest neighborhood.”)

As a special pet project of Starwood CEO Barry Sterlicht, the 1 brand’s manifesto has essentially revolved around ideologically eco-conscious principles. To wit, Toronto premiered by hosting a tree planting ceremony, and an ongoing composting program will be turning all organic wet waste into reusable soil for the hotel’s 3300 plants. Sure, it doesn’t exactly sound glamorous – but trust us, it’s a very good and responsible thing to do.

That vibe is visible as well in the hotel’s overarching aesthetic, as a distinctive feature of the interior design is its inviting greenness, giving the public spaces a genuine sense of tranquility. Some of those plants are also placed in the 112 rooms and suites, which were fashioned to evoke a rustic but stylish lakeside cabin of sorts, with soothing tones of beige, grey and blue, and raw-finished furnishings made from locally sourced timber and driftwood. Each boasts such wellness-conscious amenities as organic linens and bath products, heated floors, yoga mats, and a special water filtration system. For keeping up the workout routine while traveling, there’s a rooftop pool and the Field House fitness center on-site.

But considering Toronto is regarded as Canada’s top food city, the 1 Hotel will be making quite an effort to keep guests on the property, with five distinct epicurean venues within its leafy walls. The signature 1 Kitchen, under the direction of Executive Chef Derek Powers Jr., focuses on ethically sourced ingredients from local farmers and growers, with a menu featuring vegetarian harvest boards, curried corn soup, sweet potato tikka masala, and harissa roasted organic chicken; Flora Lounge is just what it says it is, a verdant haven of comfy couches, hanging paper lamps, and a contemporary central fireplace, serving up casual bites like chickpea fritters and chimichurri chicken skewers; there’s also the sexy Casa Madera, with chef-driven Mexican cuisine and top DJ talent, the outdoor Garden Pavilion, and Harriet’s Rooftop, offering fresh-juice-infused cocktails to go with the quite spectacular views of the cityscape below.

Now, it should be noted that Toronto’s cultural institutions have begin opening back up, and the Royal Ontario Museum will be premiering Unmasking the Pandemic: From Personal Protection to Personal Expression on September 18, while the Art Gallery of Ontario will be showing Andy Warhol through October 24. But just blocks from the hotel and not to be missed is the architecturally fascinating Stackt Market, a shopping center built entirely out of repurposed shipping containers, housing the likes of Asian specialty store Auntie’s Supply, home decor destination COFO Design, sneaker studio Mack House, and women’s streetwear shop Makeway.

Of course, the words “sustainable hospitality” get thrown around pretty capriciously these days. But 1 Hotels can legitimately claim that it’s made a genuine mission of pursuing eco consciousness and sustainability – so it’s encouraging to see the brand taking those principles international. And for our part, we genuinely look forward to our next “responsible” stay in Toronto.

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