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Happy 100th Birthday

Happy 100th Fairmont Palliser Hotel


The Fairmont Palliser Hotel, formerly Palliser Hotel, turns 100 today - June 1, 2014. 

palliser front pic resized 475

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… 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 electrical shop.

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 day.

150,000: The number of dollars that would be spent on a renovation to the hotel, announced Jan. 24, 1950.

45:  The 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.

10,000:  The number of dollars in 1957 that the CPR paid the City of Calgary, because the hotel was exempt from taxes. The Palliser had received this local tax exemption since its opening and instead paid an annual fee, but in 1967 the City of Calgary worked with the hotel to implement a three-year plan to get the hotel to pay city taxes. By 1969, that meant an additional $700,000 annually for the City.

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.

18,800:  The number of meals the Palliser served during the “Yuletide” season of 1951 (Dec. 20 to Jan. 3.) To accommodate those meals, the chef ordered and prepared 10,000 pounds of turkey, chicken, duck and goose; 70 gallons of cranberry sauce; 4,500 pounds of potatoes; 28,000 rolls; 5,000 petit fours and 500 pounds of Christmas pudding. (These were the days before metric measurements were the standard.)

160:  Number of rooms redecorated in a 1960 renovation, which included room enlargement and installation of television sets.

400:  The 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.”

39:  The 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.

12: The 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.

1970:  The 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.

 palliser building



The hotel has no doubt seen its share of “goings-on” in a 100 years…..there must be countless other bits of juicy trivia…..and oh, if only those walls could talk! 



Happy Birthday Fairmont Palliser….here’s to the next 100!!  


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