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Last Call At The Gladstone Hotel

Part of the yowLAB Film Festival and Ottawa Architecture Week. Admission $15, ByTowne Members $10. Advance tickets available at the ByTowne or at

The Gladstone Hotel, which first opened its doors in downtown Toronto in 1889, is the subject of an entertaining and informative documentary entitled Last Call At The Gladstone Hotel.

When it first opened, the Gladstone Hotel was a posh establishment catering to the elite. By 2000, the hotel, severely deteriorating from decades of neglect, had become a flophouse. In contrast, the hotel’s renowned Melody Bar catered to a much different crowd of customers, people who enjoyed art and live music. A deep rooted sense of community and camaraderie existed among the bar’s regulars, including directors Derreck Roemer and Neil Graham.

After Graham and Roemer discovered the Gladstone Hotel was about to be sold to developers, they decided to document the fate of the building, its residents and staff. The film begins as hotel staff members throw former owner Allen Appleby a going-away party, shortly after Michael Tippin, a real-estate developer, had bought the property. Tippin’s company purchases heritage buildings in Toronto that are deteriorating or about to face demolition so he can restore them and make them profitable. He wanted to restore the Gladstone Hotel to its original splendor and make it a safe environment where guests can enjoy live music and art.

Tippin expected the hotel to be vacant when he bought it. He was shocked to inherit the hotel’s staff and tenants, including Maryanne, a former bag-lady, who is extremely secretive, Marilyn, who has worked in the hotel for 11 years as its maid, and Shirley Ann, the opinionated front-desk clerk who believes Tippin’s vision for the hotel will ultimately fail.

This documentary succeeds because Graham and Roemer have blended historical facts about the Gladstone Hotel with a unique perspective on the impact that gentrification has on urban communities. With colorful human interest stories and humorous anecdotes, the film not only informs audiences about the revitalisation project but also entertains them.

– Geoffrey D. Roberts, ReelTalk

Part of the yowLAB Film Festival and Ottawa Architecture Week.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion entitled
"Inhabiting gentrification: A panel discussion on urban revitalization and its impact on the existing character (and characters!) of neglected heritage neighbourhoods".

The panel will be moderated by Laurence Wall of CBC Radio. Panellists include:

Mitchell Kutney Board member, Citizens Academy / Co-founder, JustChange Ottawa
Ray Sullivan Executive director, Centretown Citizen Ottawa Corporation
Rhiannon Vogl Curatorial Assistant, Contemporary Art National Gallery of Canada / Board member, gallerie SAW gallery

Admission $15, ByTowne Members $10. Advance tickets available at the ByTowne or at

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