When the long-awaited Ace Hotel Toronto finally opened this summer, it became an instant cultural sensation (not to mention the cover star of our September/October issue). Designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, the building is an impressive balance of brawny concrete and woodsy detailing, with its cantilevered lobby bar and sunken dining room both managing to feel simultaneously grand and intimate.
But the popular downtown destination still has another trick up its sleeve — all the way up on the 14th floor, to be exact. On Friday, the Ace Hotel Toronto debuted its rooftop bar, Evangeline. Another local institution in the making, it provides the finishing touch to a landmark architectural undertaking that can now be admired in its entirety.
Named after the first feature-length film to be made in Canada, Evangeline seems destined to play an especially prominent role on the TIFF social calendar. That said, Torontonians will be pleased to hear it also plans to host open-to-everyone DJ nights and dance parties all year long, complementing a menu of snacks and small dishes by Patrick Kriss (of Michelin star-winning Alo fame).
As with the Ace Hotel Toronto’s other hospitality spaces, the 80-seat lounge feels as cosmopolitan as it does calming — part downtown penthouse and part rural cabin. Working with Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, the Ace Hotel Group’s in-house Atelier Ace design team developed a colour palette that conjures a walk in the woods on a crisp fall day, pairing muddy green hues with select hits of coppery red.
The Ace Hotel Toronto is a Love Letter to the City
Seven years in the making, the Ace Hotel Toronto celebrates the city’s cultural scene — and its brickwork fabric. Shim-Sutcliffe’s first major hospitality project allows people to witness the firm’s striking attention to detail up close.
Building on the hotel’s precast brick façade — itself a nod to one of Toronto’s signature building materials, featured throughout much of the city’s vernacular architecture — Evangeline’s two fireplaces sit below rows of vertical red bricks that further contribute to the space’s rustic warmth.
Brutalist accents continue another one of the Ace Hotel Toronto’s main motifs. Rugged concrete columns complement a pair of volumetric wall canvases by Montreal artist David Umemto, installed here on either side of the room’s northern fireplace.
These heavier elements contrast the lounge’s light wood ceilings and wood-framed furnishings, made all the more inviting by their slightly vintage look. A series of patterned rugs solidify the vibe of comfortable domesticity.
Another particularly charming touch is the periscope-esque lighting that extends down from the ceiling. In keeping with the Ace Hotel’s habit of partnering with local designer-makers, the rooftop bar’s custom fixtures were developed by Toronto studio MSDS.
The 50-seat indoor lounge is joined by a 30-seat outdoor patio that looks over a row of grassy planters and out to Toronto’s ever-evolving skyline.
Evangeline’s interior takes on an especially romantic ambiance come sunset, when its caramel tones really come to life. And for those who show up a bit later in the evening, the bright lights of the towers out the window introduce another type of cinematic glow. For visitors and locals alike, the cozy-meets-cosmoplitan space is a testament to Toronto’s unique blend of the worldly, woodsy and whimsical.