Food / Drink, Travel

Downtime at the Drake Devonshire


Photo courtesy the Drake Devonshire

The Drake Hotel often gets credited with helping draw people to an emerging West Queen West, that downtown Toronto strip of Queen just east of Dufferin. And deservingly so. Upon opening in 2004 it not only ushered in a new kind of boutique hotel experience, it set the stage for hipster lifestyle before hipsters even existed.

Less than a decade later the brand expanded to the financial district with a restaurant called Drake One Fifty. Last fall they did it again, this time in Prince Edward County – specifically Wellington, Ontario – with the Drake Devonshire. The brand’s extension into a lakefront inn has been done beautifully.

“The Drake Devonshire flirts with the luxury summer camp in English country house style.” ~ Paris Vogue

I had a chance to experience it earlier this month on a trip hosted by the Drake, and am anxious to go back. Prince Edward County offers a bounty of things to do year round, so leave some time to explore if you plan a trip. But not to worry, your time at “Drake by the Lake” won’t be dull. The Drake brand is rooted in design, art, music and culinary excellence. There is always something happening.


photo by John Cullen | Travel + Leisure


As with the original Drake, the Devonshire’s guest rooms and suites come in all shapes and sizes. The rooms have been meticulously designed and outfitted with custom furniture and millwork, mixed with antiques and vintage pieces, and feature original artwork. Some even boast balconies that overlook the Lake and the property.

Fish Fry Friday

photo courtesy of Drake Devonshire


I met Matthew DeMille, Devonshire head chef, a man who brings plenty of big city experience and a wealth of knowledge on the local area. Everything is a nod to PEC. His ‘farm and lake to table’ philosophy extends all the way to featured wines from the region’s many wineries. There’s nothing precious about Drake’s food, not with special events like the Good Friday Fish Fry or a Terroir Run Pasta Party, but it aims to please. Don’t overlook their well-stocked beer list and cocktail program which is always ahead of the trend.


Here’s another thing Drake fans will recognize. The Devonshire features a rotating exhibit of work regularly with a new show installed every couple of months, as well as an ongoing Artist-in-Residence program. Even the guest rooms are an exhibition unto themselves.


Devonshire’s weekly calendar listings include open mic nights, performances and even events like drawing classes. This Thursday night, Wellington locals and Drake guests will be treated to a performance by Toronto’s Scarlett Jane. This amazing duo will light up the dining room and bar starting at 8:30 PM. (April 30, $10 cover). If you can go, go! I’m in love with their sound.

Scarlett Jane

Scarlett Jane

Scarlett Jane will be in town to shoot the music video for their new single I’ve Got a Little Secret with photographer-turned-music-video-director Caitlin Cronenberg (yes, that Cronenberg). Check out the just-released lyric videoI had the pleasure of styling Scarlett Jane singers Cindy Doire and Andrea Ramolo last month for a shoot with photographer Nikki Ormerod. It should be noted that that shoot, as seen above, was done at a very seedy motel, not the Devonshire. Look for Cindy and Andrea on tour throughout Canada this summer.

Room reservations and other Drake Devonshire information available here.