Kingston holds a rich history, be it in an old limestone buildings, streets, carriageways, or Martello Towers; every place tells a unique story.
The building at 46 Montreal Street, a downtown investment property listed for sale last week and being sold for $5.25 million, according to an MLS listing, is no exception. Built in 1876, the walls of the building now commonly referred to as ‘The Plaza’ at the corner of Montreal and Queen Streets have stood through countless different versions of the hotel/bar/lounge business. The Plaza Gentlemen’s Club, a strip club currently located in the building, was closed for over a year due to COVID-19 prior to the property being listed.
The property is situated in a prime downtown location and is within walking distance to Waterfront, Queen’s University, Kingston General Hospital (KGH), and all downtown amenities. It holds an entertainment lounge and a sports bar at ground level, special events room and residential area at the second level, and another residential area and a penthouse at the third level.
The building’s unique historical value dates back to 1876, when it was known as The Albion Hotel, which was built around an existing house. Architects Power & Son constructed the building for hoteliers Waggoner & McMillan, but had to rebuild it only two years later after a fire.
It went on to become The Plaza Hotel, and served travellers along the Toronto-Montreal corridor for decades. The1948 photos seen below from the George Lilley fonds of the Queen’s University Archives give a glimpse of the building as the original Plaza Hotel. The interior photos show what was then known as the “Beverage Room.”
The same building held Kingston’s first official gay bar in the early 1980s called The Office. Later it also had a lesbian bar, Dreammakers, which closed its door in 1997, and since then, its maintained its current strip club status – the only one in Kingston – housing a punk rock bars on the upstairs floor for several years in the early 2000s.
Whichever version of the building one looks to, the property has remained a landmark in downtown Kingston for over 140 years.
“The Plaza Hotel is part of the overall impression of a historic core in the downtown… we are the custodians of built heritage.,” said Kingston-based Architectural Historian Jennifer McKendry.
The Kingstonist was unable to reach the current owners of The Plaza for comment.