When the Canadian Pacific Railway pushed west in 1883, Calgary was essentially a mounted police post and trading center. With an influx of tourists, mainly en route to Canadian Pacific's Banff Springs hotel, a hospitality spot in Calgary was an essential link.
The front door and doorman of the Fairmont Palliser
Groundbreaking for the building started on May 12, 1911, on property owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was built by P. Lyall and Sons Construction Company with materials such as stone, steel, reinforced concrete and brick at a cost of $1,500,000.
The hotel opened on June 1, 1914. Like all of the flagship Canadian hotels in the Fairmont chain, it was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was a property of Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts (CP Hotels) until the company purchased Fairmont and changed their name to Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in 1999.
The hotel was named after Captain John Palliser, who was an explorer in the region during the 1850s. Architect Lawrence Gotch of E. and W.S. Maxwell of Montreal designed the Edwardian building with a characteristic Chicago school look. The building was originally 12 stories high, with another three stories added in 1929, making it Calgary's highest building until 1958. It has been renovated and expanded a number of times throughout its history, including a $28 million renovation in 2000.