Happy 100th Birthday
Happy 100th Fairmont Palliser Hotel
Palliser Hotel, formerly Palliser Hotel, turns 100 today - June 1, 2014.
Built by Canadian Pacific Railway, the hotel originally opened as an eight storey building fitted with all of the opulence of the time….including HOT water. The, now twelve storey hotel, has seen many renovations and additions over the years and continues to offer a luxurious guest (both near and far) experience to everyone visiting – whether meeting for drinks in the Oak Room, doing a bit of business in the Rimrock or staying at the hotel as a tourist or business traveller – you can expect to be well attended to.
To celebrate its centennial, the hotel has a number of events planned throughout the year - but the “no questions asked” quest to find “borrowed” items that have mysteriously walked away over the years is a fun way to reclaim history. The biggest mystery of them all? The search is on for the whereabouts of the gargoyle that sat atop the Rimrock fireplace but mysteriously disappeared…..it was last documented by photo in 1997. Hmmmm…..what’s in you’re basement?!
Here’s a bit of Hotel trivia spanning 1940 and 1970 as documented by the Calgary Herald.
1,890: The number of pounds of ice crushed each day for food and beverage services, as
of Dec. 30, 1947. The ice was crushed in the basement of the hotel, which was
said to resemble a complete town. It housed a grocery store, bakery, butcher’s
shop, furniture and upholstery repair shop, a carpentry shop, paint shop and an
32: Number of “cubby holes” needed to store items left behind by guests, according
to a May 26, 1949 report. Lost items in storage on that day included false
teeth, a fur coat, two canes, a wallet with $42 in it, two panama straw hats
and a package with cod liver oil inside. The hotel also noted that on an
average day, six to eight pairs of men’s overshoes were left at the hotel each
The number of dollars that would be spent on a renovation to the hotel,
announced Jan. 24, 1950.
number of years worked in hotels by head porter David Grant, who retired from
the Palliser in November 1956. He helped many famous folks to their rooms over
the years and when he carried the bags of the Duke of Kent, the duke gave him a
pair of monogrammed cufflinks.
2,000: The number of meals served on an average day in March 1956, according to then-chef Swiss-born Adolf Haenni. He was famous for his secret recipe for wild duck.
25: The number of cents added to the Palliser’s rate for a single room, without bath, in December 1958. Single rooms with a bath went up by 50 cents. The hotel noted that the increase was needed because its operating expenses had risen, due in part to hotel employees receiving a four-cent-an-hour wage increase.
160: Number of rooms redecorated in a 1960 renovation, which included room
enlargement and installation of television sets.
number of “members of the press,” who attended the opening of the first stage
of a 1962 $1.5 million renovation. The Palliser invited reporters from across
the country to see the swanky update and many RSVP’d “yes.”
number of “waitresses, chambermaids, porters” and managers who formed the
annual Palliser Christmas choir. The choir would sing in the lobby at noon each
week day during the holiday season.
number of cents that each hotel employee received in a raise (phased in over
three years.) The 1966 raise ended a year-long salary dispute.
year in which the “men-only pub era” ended, as the Palliser opened its pub to
both genders. Mini-skirted hostesses set fire to “men only” door signs, as the
establishment welcomed women inside.
Happy Birthday Fairmont Palliser….here’s to the next 100!!
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