A Nod To Our History
One of Canada's grand railway hotels, the Fort Garry Hotel was built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and is designated a National Historic Site of Canada. A symbol of Winnipeg's importance as a transportation hub, this iconic hotel located just one block from Union Station is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks, defining the skyline for more than 100 years.
The hotel is widely considered the city’s finest example of the chateau style of architecture first seen in the magnificent railway hotels built across Canada before 1930. Architects Ross and MacFarlane of Montreal modeled their original plans for the hotel after Ottawa's Chateau Laurier. The hotel rose majestically to a height of 192 feet and held 340 rooms, each with a private bathroom.
In the past, the hotel has welcomed a long list of distinguished guests, including Nelson Eddy, Harry Belafonte, Charles Laughton, Lawrence Olivier, Liberace, Arthur Fiedler, Louis Armstrong, Gordie Howe and Lester Pearson. Perhaps the most famous guests were King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who stayed at the hotel during their 1939 visit to Canada.
Today, following extensive renovations, The Fort Garry has renewed its reputation for quality and service and re-established its place among Canada's grand hotels, offering an ambiance unequaled by many of its peers and more modern counterparts. To many people, The Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre is more than an elegant hotel. It is an architectural icon and a vibrant, enduring piece of Winnipeg history.
Fort Garry through the Decades
The Fort Garry Hotel opens on December 11, welcoming Grand Trunk Pacific Railway executives and Winnipeggers to the city’s “new castle of opulence.”
Circus magician Alfred Banyon, aka The Great Zanzig, joins the hotel as maître d’, a position he will hold for 22 years.
Bellman Andy Kuhn joins the hotel, collecting the first of hundreds of celebrity autographs he’ll acquire over 32 years.
A November fire on the hotel’s seventh floor requires 50 firefighters to extinguish and leaves the building water-damaged.
Quebec hotelier Raymond Malenfant buys the hotel in 1987, reopening it a year later, following extensive renovations, at a black-tie soiree for 750 guests.
Under new ownership, the beloved hotel is rebranded the Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre. A new facility is added for weddings and events.
As the hotel’s managing partners, the husband-and-wife team of Richard Bel and Ida Albo, along with the Laberge Group out of Quebec City, have resurrected and rebuilt the Fort Garry for a new generation of stylish travelers.