The 2009 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF as it is now called officially, has come to a close and this year the Fairmont Royal York played host to some serious TIFF action. You knew something wonderful was happening here as soon as you walked through the front doors end entered the lobby, a wonderful poster welcoming TIFF participants greeted you. The poster, another touch of brilliance courtesy of the film and TV person here at the Royal York, Kolene Elliott, was a very faithful recreation of the poster for The Wizard of Oz only it wasn’t Oz at the end of the yellow brick road, it was the Royal York. And it just got better from there.
I have often mentioned in this series that life inside the Fairmont Royal York Hotel is a swirling microcosm of activity and life, and the closer you look the more intricate and fascinating that microcosm becomes, uniquely so here at the Royal York as that microcosm of activity reaches from the very sun-splashed rooftops to the convention floor canyons of stainless steel in the kitchens.
Originally I was going to call this chapter of the series “The Fairmont Royal York Goes To The Movies,” but in essence it really should be called “The Movies Go To The Fairmont Royal York.”
On Tuesday, August 4th the Toronto International Film Festival held the second of its annual summer press conferences in the venerable Imperial Room here at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
In the last week I have been sitting in the mezzanine lounge of the Royal York Hotel, or sitting in Epic restaurant lounge – watching people make their way through the lobby or relax over a cocktail after either a long day in meetings or a long day of sightseeing – just feeling the energy of the place. It got me thinking about the allure of living in a hotel and why it is something that writers and actors and artists and musicians seem to gravitate towards.
Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos is one of the most stunning, remarkable vacation resorts in the entire world. In fact, it feels like a disservice to simply call the property a resort. By comparison, it might be a little like calling a Rolls-Royce simply a car.
I have always felt a magical, almost cosmic connection to the Fairmont Royal York, and for some time I wondered where that feeling came from.
After all, I have been lucky enough to have spent time in some of the finest hotels in North America – from New York to Beverly Hills, from Miami to Maui, but still, when I am asked to name my favourite hotel, The Fairmont Royal York is always the answer I give without a breath of hesitation.
Living in the ever changing, exciting world of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel reminded me that, as familiar with a place you think you may be, it can and does show you constantly that there is more to the place than meets the eye.
Such was confirmed for me recently on a wonderful evening that begin on the roof of the hotel and ended with a splendid dinner with the hours in between being filled with great company, great food, and lots of hotel talk.
In the latest instalment of the great Fairmont Royal York Writer In Residence adventure, Christopher Heard takes a look at life in the hotel this week, and then wanders down the corridors of memory lane for a look back through his career as a writer.
Last night as I was writing notes for this book on the experience of living in the Fairmont Royal York, on hotel living and hotel culture, it occurred to me that many if not most of the crazy adventures I have lived, and wonderful, although sometimes surreal experiences I have had, all are connected in one way or another to a hotel. In that way, the hotel becomes part of the sense memory of the event or experience.
There is something incredibly social about living in a hotel – even if you are not particularly a social person you cannot help but be enveloped in the constant motion and movement of people in and out. The pace is quick here but not in the rat-race kind of way – the quickness here comes with an excitement and happiness. Visitors are on their way out to explore or are dragging their luggage across the lobby to quickly check in and get their adventure underway.