WoodGreen New Edwin Hotel

Riverdale, Toronto

Converting a rooming house into a men’s shelter, we upgraded the residents’ accommodation and experience while maintaining an appropriate neighbourhood character.


Constructed in 1905 to serve the railway, the Edwin Hotel fell into decline when the local station closed. Over time it became an ad hoc residence for marginalized people. The landmark building was purchased by WoodGreen Community Services, who commissioned us to renovate and expand the building into a “housing-first” residence for street-involved, unstably housed and homeless men aged 55+.

Our objective was to ensure that the New Edwin would instill calm to residents, staff, visitors, and the neighbourhood. On the exterior we cleaned and restored the brick façade and re-clad the ground level entry wall with two layers of perforated stainless-steel panels in a moiré pattern, giving the building a robust, artful, and contemporary appearance. We retained the old “Niteclub” sign, to preserve that piece of history and place. With this fresh face and a 3300 ft² two-storey addition, the building now resembles a modestly scaled, modern-day hotel that fits in seamlessly with the eclectic streetscape.

Extensive interior demolition provided us freedom to design a residence that would improve the health and wellness of its occupants. Many of the building’s 28 residents lived in the building before the renovation, but now their rooms are significantly upgraded to self-contained studio apartments with personal bathrooms, kitchenettes, and operable windows. A simple and intuitive plan offers easy flow and universal accessibility. Cleanliness and abundant natural light and ventilation contribute to an informal, welcoming, and healthy atmosphere. On the main floor, the facility now includes purpose-built community health services, and wrap-around supports. A new rooftop patio also provides residents with a secure and private outdoor gathering space, as well as the opportunity for urban agriculture.


Toronto Star – (October 2010) South Riverdale welcomes new housing for homeless men