[URBAN NOTE] “Once Upon A City: Glamour, disco transform suburban North York”
Writing in the Toronto Star, Janice Bradbeer describes the perhaps too-brief episode of the Inn on the Hill, disco-themed staycation retreat in North York.
It was a swinging place that attracted the rich and famous, as well as the average Torontonian.
The Inn on the Park, which opened in May 1963, featured what it said to be Canada’s first disco, Café Discotheque. “Killer Joe” Piro, a famous dance instructor, was brought up from Manhattan to teach guests to do the frug and Watusi when the disco opened in 1964. The discotheque promised “indigo mood music and pulsating rhythms” for its patrons.
The $4 million Inn on the Park resort rose up at the northeast corner of Leslie and Eglinton Ave. E., in what was then considered a suburban wasteland.
It was the start of the trend toward staycations, where the middle class could travel 15-minutes from downtown to an oasis for some R & R. The Inn on the Park, surrounded by parkland and set on a small hill, offered tennis, 6-hole golf course, heliport, shuffleboard, two swimming pools and skating in winter. There was also something new known as a “health club” called The Fitness Institute, headed up by Canadian fitness expert Lloyd Percival.
When the Inn on the Park closed its doors in 2004, staff recalled who had passed through the Inn — and not just the average Joe who wanted a taste of the good life.