The Story of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC

The Story of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC


This book presents and history of a grand old lady, the Empress Hotel. Built on James Bay in 1908 it has survived two world wars, the Great Depression, gold rushes, booms and busts, the introduction of the automobile and alternating current. The hotel was build with DC electricity, hot and cold running water, elevators, central heating and all mod cons. When people visited, they declared: "It's so light, airy and modern" and moved straight in. Over the years, the Empress had a resident population of 100 retirees, ending in 1989.

Locals thought of the hotel as the centre of social life. They came to balls, Chrysanthemum teas and Olde English Christmas dinners with jesters, madrigals and a boar's head on a platter. They attended the winter golf tournament called the Duffers' Delight because it wasn't a serious affair. One year the tournament was finished off in a large room in the Lower Lobby, because it had snowed overnight.

This book captures the stories of the hotel and its residents through the decades up to the present.

(46 pages)

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