Saturday, July 16, 2011

Windsor Hotel Montreal

Windsor ballroom, c 1878, courtesy of wikimedia commons

Like the Royal Alexandra in Winnipeg, the once great Windsor in Montreal was torn down. The first of Canada's grand hotels, The Windsor opened in 1878 and closed in 1981.

Sir John A. Macdonald, Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne were among those assembled when the hotel opened. Located across from Windsor Station, the hotel attracted not only tourists but the business and social elite of Montreal. The Windsor ballroom hosted the St. Andrew's Society Ball and the Winter Carnival Ball.

Famous guests of the Windsor's heydey included Sarah Bernhardt, Mark Twain, Lily Langtry and Rudyard Kipling. In one of the restaurants in 1917, the owners of hockey teams from Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa assembled to form the National Hockey League.

In 1987 Le Windsor office building was born. According to scripophily, the stained glass of "Peacock Alley" has been preserved. The marble staircases and the two ballrooms are still in use.

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