When the Canadian Pacific Railway was built between 1881 and 1885 it became the only connection between eastern Canada and British Columbia. The CPR, as it is known, built several ‘grand hotels’ across the country in varying ‘chateau’ styles: the Chateau Frontenac, the Banff Springs Hotel, the Royal York Hotel and the Empress.
The Chateau Frontenac was opened in 1893 after its sister hotel, the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff did 1887. William Cornelius Van Horne, the newly appointed president with the CPR, envisioned a string of grand hotels across Canada to draw visitors from abroad.
According to Wikipedia:
“The Château Frontenac was named in honour of Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac, who was governor of the colony of New France from 1672 to 1682 and 1689 to 1698. The Château was built not too far from the historic Citadelle, whose construction Frontenac had begun at the end of the 17th century.”
Two historic posts about Louis de Buade can be found here and here.
The Château Frontenac, like its sister hotels below, has Old-Fashioned Tea . Hours of operation are June to October, Thursday to Saturday, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Reservations are required.
The original Banff Springs Hotel became such an immediate sensation among the tourists that the CPR encouraged the federal government to establish the first national park.
The Banff Springs Hotel with its unique blend of opulence and seclusion has been a symbol of Rocky Mountain magnificence for more than a century. Styled after a Scottish baronial castle, the Fairmont Banff Springs offers stunning vistas, golf courses, skiing, classic cuisine and a European-style spa. I can provide a personal recommendation for staying in this luxurious hotel. There is nothing quite like this magnificent hotel with the surrounding pristine wilderness. For those visiting Banff and the surrounding area it is a wonderful experience to take Afternoon Tea, available daily, Monday to Friday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The price is quite reasonable, starting at $32Cdn.
The Royal York Hotel opened on June 11, 1929, with 28 floors made it the tallest building in Toronto at the time. State of the art, the hotel had ten elevators, a radio in each of the 1,048 rooms, and what we take for granted now: a private shower or bath in each room.
Something new I was unaware of: in 2008 the hotel installed 3 beehives (three queens and 40,000 workers) on the 13th floor rooftop terrace to produce the chefs with 700 pounds of honey.
All the original Canadian Pacific Railway Hotels had afternoon tea, and the Royal York Hotel has continued this tradition but with an additonal treat: a tour of their Rooftop Garden on the 13th floor. The afternoon tea and rooftop garden tour began on May 23, 2009, continuing every Saturday and Sunday afternoon until September 6, 2009. The tea menu can be seen here. Reservations are required, and subject to availability.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel is considered to be the oldest and finest hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. This Edwardian, chateau-style hotel was designed for CPR Hotels as a terminus hotel for the CPR steamship line terminal a block away. It opened in 1908, with additional wings being added in 1909, 1914 and 1928. Later when the CPR ceased its passenger service, the hotel was successful as a tourist resort in the 1920s.
The Empress Hotel has always had an afternoon tea service in the summer months with sandwiches, fresh scones, preserves and Jersey Cream in its ‘Tea Lobby’. Reservations are required.
The Tea and Garden Package which includes one night accommodation, an afternoon tea and a round trip motorcoach tour to The Butchart Gardens. Prices start at $239Cdn during the off season and is subject to availability.
Some years ago I attended one of these sumptuous tea services at the Empress and found a similar delightful atmosphere at the Claridges Hotel in London, England. Purely divine.
Travis Erwin wanted to know the distances between these hotels.
The Chateau Frontenanc in Quebec City, Quebec is about 313 miles (504 km) from Toronto where the Fairmont Royal York Hotel is.
Toronto, Ontario is about 1,746 miles (2,811 km) to Banff, Alberta where the Banff Springs Hotel is located.
And the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia is about 395 miles (635 km) from Banff, Alberta.
For anyone wanting to hotel hop this is a long way to go.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia.
Sources: wikipedia – frontenac , http://www.fairmont.com/frontenac,
Wikipedia – Banff Springs Hotel , http://www.fairmont.com/banffsprings,
Wikipedia – Fairmont Royal York, http://www.fairmont.com/royalyork,
wikipedia – Canadian Pacific Railway
Wikipedia – Canada’s railway hotels
Wikipedia – The Fairmont Empress Hotel , http://www.fairmont.com/empress.
Travis Erwin from Amarillo, Texas is the founder of My Town Monday. For other locations to visit please go to Travis' site here.
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