On our first morning in Ottawa, Sue and I struck out on foot for the short walk toward the impressive buildings on Parliament Hill. However, the first majestic sight that caught our eyes was the elegant Chateau Laurier Hotel, located on the banks of the Rideau Canal.
The presently-called Fairmount Chateau Laurier hotel was officially opened on June 12, 1912 by one of Canada's great Prime Ministers, Sir Wilfred Laurier, at the conclusion of a major effort to 'put Ottawa on the map'. This was to be the flagship hotel of what eventually became the Canadian National Railway, operating in competition with the older Canadian Pacific Railway which had its own fleet of famous hotels such as the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and the Chateau Lake Louise in Banff. In a strange twist of fate, the American railwayman who first conceived the hotel 5 years earlier, Charles Hays, died just two months before the hotel was opened when he went down with the Titanic after it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Built in the French Renaissance style, this elegant hotel uses granite blocks as the base for its Indiana limestone walls, the whole being surmounted by impressive copper roofs. As we passed the hotel, we took a stroll inside to see the equally impressive interior with its high ceilings, marble floors, deep carpets, rich wooden walls and brass fixtures. The numbers of plaques, busts and photographs adorning the various rooms attests to the fact that the hotel succeeded in its objective of giving the relatively new city of Ottawa a bit of 'class'. As the hotel literature itself says: "Fairmont Château Laurier... was once dubbed 'the third chamber of Parliament' in reference to the number of politicians roaming the corridors. In its rooms, political deals were made, careers launched or destroyed and governments created and dissolved". Our morning walk was off to a great start!
As usual, I do things a bit differently. But, you'll get no complaints from me on this one because I happened upon what must be the best place in all of Ottawa to take a variety of pictures! In fact, all of the pictures on this humble Ottawa page were taken from this single location with the exception of the National War Memorial (another picture taken from behind! Geez!) and those of the Byward Market.
The Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel is undoubtedly the oldest and most expensive in Ottawa and the very reason I didn't stay there! I'm sure that many politicians and Heads of State plus a few more famous folks have, so I didn't want to take away from their important sense of purpose by creating a furor with my presence. After all, I was only here for the afternoon and as no press conferences were scheduled, I thought it best to enjoy my solitary moment of anonimity. I'm really quite famous and don't get this "not another look" treatment often, so I made the most of it! ;-)
Tjis castle is now the Fairmont Hotel and it's a true beauty, dominating Ottawa's old town in front of the Parliament buildings and the Ottawa locks. Its original furniture never arrived because it sank with the Titanic.
This stone replica of a French chateau is a good example of the establishments built by railroad companies in the early 1900's.
It was built for the Grand Trunk Railway in the Ottawa terminal Railway Co. and opened on June 1st 1912. The east wing was added in 1928.
Prime Minister R.B.Bennett maintained his Pesidence here between 1930 and 1835.
This hotel is now a designated Heritage
I did not post this tip under Hotel, as I did not stay here !, it is just a magnificent limestone replica of a chateau to view.
I only spent a few minutes in Chateau Laurier, because one of the girls I was shopping with wanted to buy a Chateau Laurier t-shirt for her dad back home. But I do remember that the hotel was very fancy, and probably not the cheapest accommodation in Ottawa...
Hotel Chateau Laurier is an architectural
highlight. The Chateau Laurier is more than a hotel; it is a landmark institution in Ottawa, and the site of many gala events.
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