100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

New Hotel Opens In Canada

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway of Canada was formed in 1903 to build a second trans-Canadian railway that terminated on the Pacific with a terminus closer to Asia than Vancouver. The first shovel of earth for the construction of the GTPR took place at an official ceremony in September 1905 in Ontario by then Prime Minister Laurier. Construction has already passed the Continental Divide and the western stretch will be completed in a few years. In 1910, the Grand Trunk Pacific dock was built in Seattle, Washington and is the largest dock on the west coast.

The GTPR decided to build opulent hotels along the new railway line to to encourage tourists to travel its transcontinental routes. Their first in downtown Ottawa was to be their flagship hotel. Built in Gothic fashion of Indiana limestone in the Château style, “including its massive scale, irregular silhouette, steeply-pitched copper roofs, ornate gables and dormers.” It featured “towers and turrets, high-quality materials, and dramatic setting.” General Manager of GTPR, Charles Hays, travelled to Europe to gather opulent furniture worthy of the spectacular hotel. He wanted to travel back to Canada in the fastest, safest ship he could. Unfortunately he chose the RMS TITANIC. Neither Hays or the furniture ever reached Canada.

On June 1, 1912 the Chateau Laurier Hotel opened in Ottawa to great acclaim as a magnificent hotel. GTPR plans other hotels along its route based on the Chateau style.

Chateau Lautier Hotel on opening day – June 1, 1912


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