Parliament Hill
June 2001 004

Parliament Hill, June 2001 004

1 Rideau St. Chateau Laurier gets a new copper roof.
June 14, 2001. Photo: Andy Sorfleet

Château Laurier

Château Laurier was commissioned in 1907, by Charles Melville Hays, of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Following a disagreement with architect Bradford Lee Gilbert, Ross and Macfarlane Contractors was hired to build the hotel in French Renaissance style using granite blocks for the base, buff Indiana limestone for the walls and copper for the roof. The grand building also featured white Italian marble, a Travertine Marble staircase with brass railing, a Ball Room, Czechoslovakian crystal and an art deco pool. Antiques in the hotel are now valued at $4.5 million.

But Hayes never saw Château Laurier open. Returning from England with dining room furniture, he perished on the Titanic on April 14, 1912; two weeks before the hotel's scheduled opening. Only Paul Chevre, who sculpted the bust of Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and the women in Hays' party, including his wife Clara, survived the disaster.

Château Laurier was eventually opened by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, on June 12, 1912. Château Laurier was once dubbed "the third chamber of Parliament." In its rooms, political deals were made, careers launched or destroyed and governments created and dissolved.


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Created: MAR. 17, 2002
Last Modified: MAR. 17, 2002

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