A Regular Palace: Celebrating 100 years of the Chateau Laurier

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Harper Collins, Jun 22, 2012 - History - 50 pages
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For 100 years, the world has walked through the lobby of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the grand hotel set in a picturesque landscape where the Rideau Canal locks make their descent to the Ottawa River.

From the moment it opened in 1912, it was in the words of an old brochure "the place where politics and pleasure, finance and fashion meet ... the hub of the capital's wheel of affairs, a great and worthy centre of Canadian life."

This was where the Canadian government set up temporary quarters when the Parliament buildings burned in 1916. It was the place troops massed before heading to war. Photographer Yousuf Karsh lived and worked at the hotel. The CBC broadcast from it. The long list of famous guests includes Queen Elizabeth, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.

The dramatic silhouette of towers and steep roofs of the Chateau Laurier defines Ottawa for visitors and residents alike. Conical turrets rise from massive walls of Indiana limestone. Gables of the warm-coloured stone are carved with flowers, scrolls and cre‚sts. Dormer windows punctuate expanses of green copper roof.

Learn more about the Chateau, its history and the people behind it in this exquisite collection of stories and historical photos from the Ottawa Citizen.


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Chapter OneFrom controversy to grandeur
Chapter Two100 years at the centre of capital buzz
A city emerges from its sawmill past
Chapter FourA regular palace
Chapter FiveAfter a century back on the rails
Chapter SixA place of politics and play
Chapter SevenThe hotel where political legends were made and broken
Chapter EightA building of influence
Chapter Ten100 years 100 notable quests
Chapter ElevenThe heart and soul of a hotel
a 100year timeline
a 100year timeline
About the Authors
About the Publisher

Chapter NineRooms with a view of war

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About the author (2012)

Senior writer Don Butler, 61, has worked for the Citizen since graduating from Carleton University with a degree in journalism in 1973. As a reporter, he has covered city hall, Ontario politics and Parliament Hill. He’s also written editorials and has been the Citizen's arts editor, night news editor, assistant managing editor, weekend editor and executive editor. Since returning to writing as a feature and news reporter in 2003, he has twice won awards for justice writing, and three times been honoured for travel writing. This year he received a citation of merit from the National Newspaper Awards for political writing. He spent the 2004-05 academic year at the University of Toronto’s Massey College as a recipient of a Canadian Journalism Fellowship. He’s married to journalist Christina Spencer and has two adult children, Sean and Meagan.

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