The Bruce Bell History Project


Installing YORK’S FIRST JAIL plaque at the Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel, King Street E at Leader Lane, Toronto June 15, 2005

Left to right: Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Bruce Bell, City Councilor Pam McConnell, King Edward’s operations manager Robbie Bishop

Bruce Bell and CITY-TV's Kevin Frankish filming in front of First Jail plaque June 2005


THE GREAT FIRE 1849 Plaque unveiling 160 King Street E Toronto May 2004

Left to right Toronto Fire Chief William Stewart, Bruce Bell and Harvest House owner Mo Coulter


Bruce Bell hosts Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago & Mayor David Miller Miller of Toronto visit St Lawrence Market May 2005

Lount and Matthews Plaque

Plaque unveiled March 2003 corner of Toronto and Court Streets


Plaque Unveiling of the Birthplace of Robert Baldwin

June 14, 2006 northwest corner of Front and Frederick Streets, Toronto

Honourary Historian of 51 Division Heritage Building

In October 2006 Bruce Bell was named honourary historian of 51 Division's new headquarters, the former Consumers' Gas Purifing House built in 1898

Hockey Hall of Fame

In October of 2004 Bruce Bell was named honourary historian of the Hockey Hall of Fame Heritage Building by the governing board of the Hockey Hall of Fame

Bruce (centre) with former Leaf Pete Conacher (right) and Frank Selke Jr. at the Hockey Hall of Fame


Suites at One King West & the History of Toronto

Click link to see Bruce on HGTV talking about One King West

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By Bruce Bell

This unprecedented ‘museum’ is located in the historic Dominion Bank Building with its modern 50 story addition on the SW corner of Yonge and King now renamed ‘Suites at One King West’ downtown Toronto’s newest hotel/condo development. This exhibit includes photo’s (past and present), maps, documents, renderings, and the detailed story of Toronto’s history throughout the entire building both the in historic Dominion Bank section as well as the new tower. Each floor has a large panel next to the elevator telling guests about a particular event, person and historic building in Toronto’s past. For example the 5th floor is entitled Palaces of Power: Toronto’s City Halls and tells the story of Toronto four City Halls, the 2 most famous of course being Old City Hall and New City Hall on Queen Street. The 6th floor tells the story of Toronto’s great homes including Campbell House and the Grange which are in walking distance from the hotel. The exhibit was put together by myself with the help of Dana King and was the brainchild of maverick developer Harry Stinson.

Ground Floor: The lobby

Part 1: James Austin and the Dominion Bank: The Early Years

Part 2: James Austin Birth of an Empire

Part 3: James Austin A Vision Reborn

Great Hotels of Toronto

Historic Bank South Elevators

Floor 5: Palaces of Power: Toronto’s City Halls

Floor 6: Great Homes

Floor 7: Houses of Worship

Floor 8: Great Hotels

Floor 9: Cultural Venues

Floor 10: History of Theatre Part I

Floor 11: History of Theatre Part II

Floor 12: (The Austin Gallery) The History of James Austin and the Dominion Bank

Floor 14: Toronto: The early years:

Floor 15: History of the Railroad in Toronto

Floor 17: History of Toronto Maple Leafs (Gym Floor)

Floor 18: History of the Dry Goods Stores

Tower North Elevators

Floor 19: Toronto Island Part 1 Hanlan’s Point

Floor 20: Toronto Island Part 2 Algonquin and Wards Island

Floor 21: Toronto Island Part 3 Centre Island

Floor 22: The History of Toronto Street

Floor 23: Toronto in the 1920’s: Part 1

Floor 24: Toronto in the 1920’s: Part 2

Floor 25: The Rise of 1960’s Modern Architecture

Floor 26: The History of Royal Alexandra Theatre

Floor 27: Winter Garden Theatre

Floor 28: Neighbourhoods: Corktown

Floor 29: Neighbourhoods: Yorkville & Rosedale

Floor 30: War of 1812

Floor 31: Rebellion of 1837

Floor 32: Great Parks of Toronto Parks

Floor 33: Hockey Hall of Fame and Air Canada Centre

Floor 34: University Ave

Floor 35: University of Toronto

Floor 36: Great Homes of Toronto: The Grange

Floor 37: St Lawrence Market, Kensington, Eaton Centre

Floor 38: The Esplanade

Floor 39: The Bank of Upper Canada

Floor 40: Pantages Theatre

Floor 41: CN Tower & Rogers Centre

Floor 42: CNE & Ontario Place

Floor 43: Niagara Falls

Floor 44: Roy Thompson Hall, Massey Hall & the Carlu

Floor 45: Distillery District

Floor 46: Gooderham (Flatiron) Building

Floor 47: Early Toronto: Frederick Street

Floor 48: St Lawrence Hall

Floor 49: Number 10 Toronto Street (7th Post Office)


The Dominion Bank in 1919              Bruce standing beside 'Toronto City Hall' panel

Suites at One King West today


St Lawrence Hall

In May 2006 Bruce Bell along with the Market Gallery put together a series of portraits of some of the well known people, who either lectured, sang, danced or were entertained at St Lawrence Hall during the 19th & 20th centuries. This portrait gallery is on the third floor of St Lawrence Hall in the anteroom of the East Room (formerly St. Patrick’s Hall)

King Edward VII (as the Prince of Wales)

John A MacDonald (First Prime Minister of Canada)

Frederick Douglass (American abolitionist)

Jenny Lind (Opera star)

General Tom Thumb (Entertainer extraordinaire)

The Great Farini (Tightrope walker)

George Thompson (First person to speak in St. Lawrence Hall opening day)

Adelina Patti (Opera star)

Jem Mace (Boxing champion)

Sigsmund Thalberg (Violinist)

William Thomas (Architect of St Lawrence Hall)

Eric Arthur (Restorer of St Lawrence Hall in 1967)

Celia Franca (Founder of the National Ballet)

Rudolph Nureyev (Ballet great)

Lord Monck (Canada’s first Governor General)

William Lyon Mackenzie (Toronto First Mayor)

Thomas D’Arcy McGee (Father of Confederation)

Pierre Trudeau (Canada’s fifteenth Prime Minister)

Phineas Taylor Barnum (Impresario)

Bruce Bell (Historian)


Bruce standing beside his portrait in St. Lawrence Hall

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

In 1973 at the tender age of 18 while working at Toronto's Royal York Hotel Bruce Bell receives the Ambassador of the Month Award from then Ontario Minister of Tourism Claude Bennett


And many years later in 2007 Bruce Bell is named Honourary Historian of the same hotel, now called the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.


Bruce Bell standing in front of his photo display of historic Toronto Street at Pizzaiola Resturant at One Toronto Street


King Edward Hotel lobby display for 110th anniversary

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