It took years of fighting to get the historic Cromdale Hotel demolished, and on Sunday, hundreds came out to say goodbye to the building while marking a new chapter in the community’s history.

Politicians, community leaders and residents gathered on Alberta Avenue to officially celebrate the Cromdale’s demolition.

For many residents – over many decades – the hotel has been regarded as an eyesore that attracted crime to the community.

“It became a symbol for all that was bad, all that was negative, all that people disliked in the neighbourhood and all that they prayed would disappear,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “There were lots of problems.”

Built in the mid ‘50s, the Cromdale had once been a popular and vibrant place but over the years it began to deteriorate.

“It became a haven for crime activity,” said Martin Bundred with the Parkdale Cromdale Community League.

“It simply wasn’t contributing anything to the community. All we had was just a ton of police visits to it and crime activity that kind of rebounded past the hotel.”

After its decline, the city and community groups fought to remove the building.

The hotel was officially demolished in August – a move that many believe will help in the community’s efforts to revitalize.

“We’re going to bring the good name of the Cromdale district back to the district,” Bundred said.

“We’re hoping the name isn’t synonymous with the hotel anymore, that it’s synonymous with a great neighbourhood that has a very proud history.”

Ward 7 Coun. Tony Caterina remembers the Cromdale’s better days.

“As a teenager you tried to sneak in if you could. There was a time when it was the place to go,” he said.

“But then it turned into a place where maybe the negatives outweighed the positives of it and we got to a point where it had to go.”

Rubble and debris from the demolition of the derelict building still remain at 118 Avenue and 82 Street.

Construction on a new Shoppers Drug Mart and parking lot is expected to begin this fall, with the store opening next spring.

Most who came out to celebrate Sunday shared the same sentiment – that with the departure of the Cromdale will come brighter, safer future for the area.

“It’s a new beginning for the site,” Caterina said. “It’s like a cloud has been lifted off this corner of 118 Avenue. It just seems brighter.”

With files from Sean Amato