Russell House (Ottawa)

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The Russell Hotel circa 1883

The Russell House hotel was the most high-profile hotel in Ottawa, Canada for many decades.


The hotel was located at the southeast[1] corner of Sparks Street and Elgin. A small hotel was first built there in the 1840s and was named Campbell's Hotel after its proprietor. In 1863 it came under the ownership of James Gouin, who named it the Russell House after a family in the United States he managed a hotel for. Ottawa's status as the capital of the new country created a pressing demand for hotel space, and around 1875 and 1880 the hotel was expanded and then completely rebuilt.[2][3]

For many decades the Russell House served as Ottawa's foremost hotel. Most Canadian politicians from this era spent time at the Russell House, and Wilfrid Laurier lived there for ten years before moving to Laurier House. International guests included Oscar Wilde and Anna Pavlova.[4] It was at a dinner at the Russell House where Lord Stanley offered a trophy to the top Canadian hockey team, the genesis of the Stanley Cup.

In 1912, the Château Laurier succeeded the Russell as Ottawa's premier hotel. The Russell House closed in 1925. After being abandoned for three years, a fire broke out in 1928,[5] and the hotel was almost destroyed. The remains of the structure were demolished. The federal government expropriated the site, and used the land to expand Elgin Street to create Confederation Square.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gordon, Charles (January 4, 2000). "Old realities in a new decade 1900-1909". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa. p. 1. 
  3. ^ Denis Larionov & Alexander Zhulin. "Read the ebook Landmarks of Canada. What art has done for Canadian history; a guide to the J. Ross Robertson historical collection in the Public reference library, Toronto, Canada. This catalogue of the Toronto Public Libraries". Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  4. ^ Atherton, Tony (February 5, 2005). "Ottawa's Shoebox Part 2: The City In Frenzy (1880-1904)". Ottawa Citizen. p. B4. 
  5. ^ Woods, Shirley E. Jr. (1980), Ottawa: The Capital of Canada, Toronto: Doubleday Canada, p. 265, ISBN 0-385-14722-8 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°25′25″N 75°41′43″W / 45.4235°N 75.6953°W / 45.4235; -75.6953