Royal York’s Afternoon Tea – Rediscover Toronto Week 7

  • afternoon tea
  • historic

Thursday, August 7, 2014

It’s week seven of my Rediscover Toronto Challenge and I continue to be amazed by the history of the city. 

Did you know that a hotel has been on the site of the Fairmont Royal York since 1853?  

Royal York – A Brief History

The first hotel on the site was called Sword’s Hotel. The hotel changed ownership and its name a couple of times before it became the Queen’s Hotel in 1862.  As Toronto continued to grow, the importance of the hotel grew as well.

In the mid 1920’s, the Queen’s Hotel was demolished, to make way for the largest and tallest building in the British Commonwealth.  Today, the Royal York remains one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and continues to be the hotel of choice for prominent guests including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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Ornate tile work in the lobby of the Royal York

Tradition of Afternoon Tea

In the 1800’s, it was typical for people to eat only two meals a day, breakfast and a late dinner.  However, Duchess Anna of Bedford found that she was often hungry midday and liked to take a light meal of cakes and tea in the afternoon.  She began inviting friends to join her and soon, the upper class socialites of London were regularly enjoying afternoon tea.

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Traditional Finger Sandwiches in the Library Bar

Afternoon Tea at the Royal York

The Royal York opened its doors on June 11, 1929 and has continued its grand tradition of serving afternoon tea ever since. Every Saturday and Sunday, you will find the Library Bar full of patrons sipping tea while eating sandwiches and cakes.

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Ready for afternoon tea

Summertime Rooftop Tours

During the summer take advantage of the rooftop tours. Not only will you get to see the organic gardening practices that the hotel employs, you will also see the rooftop aviary which is home to 350,000 honey bees.

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Learning about the hotel's organic gardening practices

When to Come for Tea

Afternoon tea is an event. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with the special people in your life - friends come together, girlfriends bring their boyfriends, then those boyfriends bring their mothers.

The Library Bar Afternoon Tea caters to the younger set as well. Little girls love to get dressed up and have a tea party but you’ll find that little boys appreciate afternoon tea just as much.

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Little boys love afternoon teaThe best part? According my kids, it's getting your own teapot (full of hot chocolate) and having dessert for lunch.

To faciliate this review, I received a complementary afternoon tea for one from the Fairmont Royal York.  All pictures and comments are my own.

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