Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #36, Jeff Stober
Our annual ranking of the people whose smarts, connections and clout are changing the city as we know it
36 The king of Queen West has taken his quirky brand of Canadiana on the road. May was the official opening of the Drake Devonshire, his Prince Edward County play palace and the first hotel property he’s opened outside of Toronto, and it’s already won multiple hospitality industry awards. In July, the Drake partnered with the WayHome music and arts festival (headliners: Sam Smith and Kendrick Lamar), and converted a rural barn near Orillia into the concert’s VIP grounds. The Drake General Store—part hotel gift outlet, part flea market stand, part museum curio shop—branched out to Union Station and Yorkdale, and to The Bay in Ottawa and Vancouver. He’s been tinkering with his established properties, too. Just in time for TIFF, Stober unveiled L.A.-based contemporary art star Gary Baseman’s year-long, restaurant-wide installation, My Eyes Are Bigger Than My Stomach, at downtown’s Drake One Fifty. It includes an eerily playful mural of Baseman’s Kewpie-esque creatures feasting with, and on, each other—a wink to Stober’s obsession with artful consumption.
Stober has logged serious air miles in 2015. Since September he’s travelled to L.A, N.Y.C. (he has a loft in Soho), Paris, London (for the Frieze contemporary art fair) and Miami (for Art Basel).