One of Ottawa’s most recognizable landmarks celebrates its 100th anniversary this spring. The Fairmont Château Laurier first opened its doors on June 12, 1912, although it was originally slated to open on April 26. An interesting fact that people might not know is that just days before the hotel’s original opening date, the man who commissioned the Château Laurier, Charles Melville Hays, died aboard the Titanic on April 15. Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, for whom the hotel was named, and who also helped the Château Laurier acquire its property, opened the hotel instead. With its prime location in the heart of the city, only steps away from Parliament Hill, the Fairmont Château Laurier has played host to a century of political deals and many of Ottawa’s visiting celebrities. From rock stars to political figures, its guest list has included Shirley Temple, Billy Bishop, Roger Moore, Bryan Adams, Nelson Mandela, and more.
In honour of this historic landmark reaching the big 100, the hotel is offering some fun events in the upcoming months:
- On April 5 visit the Château Laurier and recreate the last dinner served to the first class aboard the Titanic. The chef has made a special menu so attendees can relive the experience passengers had during their final meal. Monthly dinners with special menus will also be held from June until October to trace the history of the food prepared at the hotel throughout the last century.
- Also on April 5, the hotel is offering 100 rooms at a rate of only $19.12. Competition for these rooms will be stiff. Reservations must be made in person at the hotel and are only available for two hours between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- The Château Laurier is on the hunt for treasures, lost over the years, to display in a collection of heritage items. They expect to find items such as menus, furniture, and photographs that have found their way into private possession. The hotel will also display the stories of how owners came to acquire these items. The collection will then be displayed from June 1 until the end of 2012.
- On June 2 and 3, the hotel will be open to the public for special period costume tours in conjunction with the Doors Open Ottawa event. Visitors will be led through the hotel by guides dressed in fashion from the hotel’s early days. The tour also includes music, cake, and other surprises.
For more information on the 100th anniversary celebrations, see www.fairmont.com/clh/Laurier100.