|The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald|
The Hotel Macdonald in downtown Edmonton
|Location||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|Opening||July 5, 1915|
|Owner||Fairmont Hotels and Resorts|
|Management||Fairmont Hotels and Resorts|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Ross and Macdonald|
|Number of rooms||199 total including suites|
|Number of suites||16|
|Number of restaurants||2 Harvest Room & Confederation Lounge|
The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (generally known as the Hotel Macdonald) is a hotel built in 1912 in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The hotel has successively been owned by Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Hotels, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
Prior to the construction of the Hotel Macdonald, the site was home to a squatters' camp. The squatters often lived in tents or in small caves dug into the side of the river valley wall where they still remain to this very day. Many of the squatters were Ukrainian-speaking immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. The locals nicknamed the site the "Galician Hotel".
Ross and Macdonald, the same architectural firm that designed many of Canada's landmark hotels, designed the hotel in the Château-style that characterized Canada's large railway hotels. Construction completed July 5, 1915, and the structure was named after Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Standing high on the bank overlooking the largest urban parkway in North America, the North Saskatchewan River Valley, the Hotel Macdonald has a garden in the rear of the building.
This seven-storey Grand Trunk Pacific hotel was built in a distinctive Chateau Style adapted from 16th century French castles. The building is faced with Indiana limestone and roofed with copper. Construction and furnishings cost of about $2,250,000 (over $44 million today).
Along with the Palliser Hotel in Calgary, it was one of the first two establishments to be re-issued with a liquor licence by the Alberta Liquor Control Board when the province repealed Prohibition in 1924.
In 1953, the owners constructed a 300-bedroom, 16-storey addition to keep up with the rising demand for hotel accommodation in the city. Together the hotel and the addition were dubbed "The Mac and the box it came in."
The hotel fell into disrepair and closed in 1983, and there was talk of demolition. The City of Edmonton designated the building as a Municipal Heritage Resource, with five areas included in the designation: the building exterior, the Confederation Lounge, the Lobby, the Wedgwood Room, and the Empire Ballroom. Canadian Pacific (CP) Hotels purchased the hotel in 1988, began a restoration campaign that included demolishing the 1953 addition. The hotel reopened in 1991 after work totaling $28 million. The renovation added several suites in what had been storage space, some are named for prominent guests of the hotel and include: Charles Melville Hays Suite, Deluxe Turret Room, Lois Hole Suite, King George VI Suite, Sir Winston Churchill Suite, Edward Prince of Wales Suite, the Aberhart, Manning, and Lougheed suites, and the Queen Elizabeth II Suite (also known as the Royal Suite) which was 2,400 square feet (220 m2), over two floors, with two bedrooms and a dining room for eight. With the addition of the 18 suites, the hotel now has 199 rooms.
In 1999, CP Hotels purchased Fairmont Hotels, and now operate the hotel (and all other hotels) under the Fairmont banner.
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