Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My World Tuesday ~ The "Chateau"

Chateau Laurier Hotel 2009
One of my favourite buildings in Ottawa, Ontario is the magnificant Chateau Laurier Hotel built between 1909 & 1912 to compliment the Grand Trunk Railway's Union Station across the street.
Union Station 2009
Commissioned by Charles Melville Hays the chairman of the Grand Trunk Railway, the hotel was to open on April 26, 1912 however Hayes, returning to Canada for the opening perished when the ship he was travelling on, the RMS Titanic sank on April 15, 1912

Chateau Laurie Hotel circa 1912
The hotel was opened in a subdued ceremony on June 14th, 1912 by it's name sake and Prime Minister at the time Sir Wilfred Laurier.
The original building was L shaped with the front facing south on Wellington Street and Union Station and the other arm of the L facing west along the Rideau Canal Locks (as seen in the photo above). In 1928 an addition was built to create the current U shape. The shaded area to the right in the photo above is the addition. The three arches in the bridge contained a road on left, the Rideau Canal in the centre and in the old days the railway tracks on the right as seen below.Ottawa circa 1912
Looking north across the Ottawa River to the Gatineau Hills of Quebec. On the left the Parliament Buildings, on the right the Chateau Laurier Hotel and Union Station Rideau Locks
Same view today looking north only from the bridge over the canal.
West side of Union Station now the Ottawa Convention Centre.
Looking south from the Ottawa River(Major's Hill Park)
The hotel is located on the east bank of the Rideau Locks across from Parliament Hill. Until the mid 1960's the Chateau Laurier Hotel, then owned by Canadian National Railway was the premier hotel in Ottawa.

(Remember you can click on all photos to enlarge for more detail.)
During 1977/78 I worked at the Chateau Laurier as their Convention Sales Representative. I was young and idealistic and could not understand why conferences would not book the hotel, the fact that many of the rooms were not much bigger than a bathroom didn't occur to me! They have since renovated and enlarged the rooms and continues to be one of Ottawa's premier hotels
In researching the history of the Chateau Laurier I happened on Robert's Urbsite Blog which has many great photos and lots of history of the Chateau Laurier.
I must send special thanks to my son-in-law Steve who rescued my computer and more importantly my blog from a nasty virus that threatened to end my days of blogging and prohibited me from leaving comments on anyone elses blogs(probably a good thing!)
Thanks Steve!
To visit other great places from around the world why not join us at

13 comments:

LadyFi said...

Love the contrast between the old and current photos. That castle still looks good today.

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Great photos and wonderful buildings

Powell River Books said...

Thanks for the visit today. Looks like your adventure continues. I just love the old railway hotels, but I've never stayed in one. Maybe the rooms would be too tiny to stay in for a long time, but I usually only go to a room to sleep.

You asked a question about the salt water trapped in Powell Lake. The salinity doesn't start until about 400 feet below the surface and in some places the lake is over 1000 feet deep. It doesn't affect the surface or creatures, but the depths are sterile with no oxygen. There are only a few fjord cut-off lakes in the world. Another one I know about is in Norway. That makes sense. Their topography is much like BC. - Margy

Cedar ... said...

Great post! I've never been to Ottawa. You certainly have stirred my interest. It would be a day's drive and then spend a weekend. Something to think about!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Those are certainly wonderful buildings around the century mark.

Anonymous said...

beautiful captures...the chateau is quite an architectural piece.
thanks for sharing the interesting history of the chateau and area around it.

Jenn Jilks said...

I do so love Ottawa, especially my kids, and miss it muchly!

Thanks for the photos.

Rob Inukshuk said...

Yes, a beautiful building. Makes me think of The Empress in Victoria!

Enjoy your time there and Happy New Year!

Tony said...

Sad that Hayes never saw the opening of the Hotel... Nice photos and Happy New Year!

Susan said...

Great photos! I was there two days ago as well and love the Chateau..the old CP hotels are a wonderful legacy aren't they? Happy New Year!

Jossie said...

Interesting post. The buildings are great and look very french to me.

Stine in Ontario said...

The Chateau is an awesome building. I haven't been to Ottawa in a very long time. I ought to go soon!

Lorac said...

Ottawa is such a lovely city. I have spent a fair bit of time there in my travels. Marvelous post!

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