E. and W.S. Maxwell of Montreal.
P. Lyall and Sons
Construction Company. Western Manager - H.A. Singley.
Local superintendent of construction was Sanford N.
Design similar to New York's Plaza Hotel rather than the
French Chateau Style hotels built by the CPR in other
Canadian cities. The eight storey (plus a lower basement
level) Palliser was built in an E shaped plan with three
individual towers. It featured a flat roof and
substantial cornices. Classical features included engaged
Ionic columns and radiating voussoirs over the round -
headed windows flanking the main 9th Avenue entrance. A
French - styled Mansard roof appeared on the original
plans but was never built.
Stone, steel, reinforced
concrete and brick.
Moulded ceilings, marble
columns and floors, fine oak woodwork, hand made rugs and
tapestries. Original art from Montreal art dealers W.
Scott and Sons. Roof garden and sun parlour, dining room,
palm court (to the left of the main entrance), ball room,
ladies' drawing room, gentlemen's smoking room and 350
suites in the upper floors. Each suite featured Canadian
made furnishings, a mahogany door, brass bed, hot and
cold running water and an outside window. The Western
Standard newspaper of June 20, 1914 described the elegant
new hotel in detail. " The floor of the rotunda,
vestibule, entrance hall and elevator hall is of grey
Tennessee marble, and the columns that support the roof
are finished in Botticino marble, with sylvan green
marble for the bases. The entire ground floor with the
exception of the dining room and ladies' drawing room, is
fitted in fumed oak." The bar room, with its oak
beams, stained glass windows, and coats of arms carved
into heavy columns had the air of a baronial hall.
Basement included a barbershop, complete with porcelain
manicure tables, a brick wall oven for baking fresh
bread, ten sample rooms, a wine cellar, ice room and a
baggage room connected to the railway station.
- Excavation for the
new hotel began May 12, 1911 on CPR property
which had been the site of the railway garden and
bandstand. The location of the hotel next to the
railway station at the hub of the city was no
accident as most hotel guests travelled by train.
- On March 1st 1912 a
local paper announced "Plans for the New CPR
- The Hudson's Bay
Store and the Palliser were the most costly
commercial buildings erected in Calgary during
the boom years.
- During construction
Calgarians referred to the hotel as " the
Canadian Pacific Railway, Calgary Hotel".
The local newspaper asked readers to submit ideas
for naming the new hotel. Suggestions included
the Adanac, Great Western, Golden West, Pride of
the West, Royal Northwestern, Shaughden,
Crowfoot, Piedmont, Swastika and Royal Mary.
- The name Palliser
was selected in commemoration of Captain John
Palliser, leader of the famed British expedition
responsible for exploring Western Canada between
1857 and 1860. Members of the expedition
collected astronomical, meteorological,
geological and magnetic data, described the flora
and fauna, the inhabitants and the suitability of
the country for settlement and transportation.
- Hotel popularly
known as the "Castle by the Tracks".
- When the Palliser
opened about 11 months behind schedule in June
1914 there were 300 employees. The Chief Steward
reported that the supplies included 12,612
sheets, 6,000 pillow cases, 9,600 quilts, 15,00
blankets, 2,000 tablecloths, 8,400 serviettes and
- 1929 - three floors
and a penthouse were added, making it the tallest
building in Calgary at the time. Tudor, Spanish
and Italian decor was featured in some of the 492
suites. Rooms were $4.50 a night. Complete lunch
was $1.00 and dinner $1.50.
- Home to social and
service club functions, dining, dancing, teas,
- Palliser hosted
Annual Old Time Range Men's Dinner between 1929
and 1993. The first dinner held July 9, 1919 was
attended by 57 "old time cow men". Only
those men who had worked on a round - up wagon
prior to 1900 qualified for the spread put on by
- 1930 - dinner
honouring the "Famous Five."
- During the 1930s
the big band sound of the Jerry Fuller Orchestra
was broadcast live on national radio from the
- Temporary home to
politicians, movie stars and royalty including
the Prince of Wales who later abdicated the
throne to marry Mrs. Simpson, Queen Elizabeth and
Prince Philip, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Don
Johnson, Bill Crosby and famous Danish explorer,
- Some folks just
moved in and stayed. Calgarian R.B. Bennett who
eventually became Prime Minister of Canada lived
in room 760.
- Between the 1940s
and 1960s the Palliser's New Year's Eve Ball was
the city's major social event.
- 1962 - 1965 - $2.5
million renovation. The interior was
"modernized". Ceilings lowered, air
conditioning installed, 475 suites updated and a
new dining area and bar, the Rimrock Room and the
Big Top Lounge opened.
- 1970s and 1980s -
Millions of dollars spent restoring the hotel to
its original splendour. Earlier renovations were
dismantled and the lobby, lower level guest rooms
and other public areas restored in Renaissance
- Chosen to host
Olympic VIPs during the XV Olympic Winter Games
(1988) held in Calgary.
- A gala Charity Ball
was held in May 1989 to celebrate the Palliser's