Lord Elgin Hotel
The Lord Elgin Hotel is a prominent hotel in downtown Ottawa, Canada with 355 guest rooms, located at 100 Elgin Street at Laurier Avenue, across from Confederation Park. The twelve-storey limestone structure was named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, the first Governor General of the united Canadas.
History and architecture
The hotel was designed by the prestigious firm of Ross and Macdonald, which were the successors of Ross and MacFarlane, who designed the Chateau Laurier. It was opened in 1941 by the Ford Hotel Company to compete with the Château Laurier. Unlike the Château, however, the Lord Elgin was built to primarily serve short-stay guests, particularly those who were in Ottawa on government and military business during the Second World War, especially after the recent loss of the nearby Russell Hotel. As a result, the hotel did not originally contain any ballrooms or elegant restaurants, as would have been expected in a large hotel at that time, and the guest rooms were relatively small.
The building features stone walls which are complete with broken courses and are finished by flattened oriel windows and modernistic chevrons. The building is topped by a steep copper chateauesque roof, which, William Lyon Mackenzie King apparently urged the architects to include to reflect the Parliament buildings copper roof.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the hotel's impressive facade hid the decline in its fortunes due to changes in the economy, increased competition from international hotel chains also located in the downtown core, and new demands from an ever evolving younger traveling business class. Significant renovations in the 1990s and 2000s resulted in the construction of large additions to the north and south of the building, the refurbishment and enlargement of existing rooms, and the addition of 60 new guestrooms, new meeting rooms and a new fitness facility which finished in 2002.
The interior showcases busts of James Bruce and his wife, Maria Louisa. Contemporary renovations have significantly altered the original streamlined art-deco inspired lobby.
The hotel is just a short walk away from some of the capital's most important landmarks including Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, the National Gallery of Canada, the Byward Market, the National War Memorial, the U.S. Embassy, and the Rideau Centre.
- Kalman, 46.
- Fletcher, 156.
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- Kalman, Harold and John Roaf. Exploring Ottawa: An Architectural Guide to the Nation's Capital. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983.