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"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Sunday, October 20, 2013

On cue...

Like I've said before, Ontario is full of rocks and trees.
And then as if on cue, as soon as you cross the border...
 You are smack dab on the Prairies.
These photos are taken from the car directly across the Ontario - Manitoba border.
 If Christopher Columbus had landed here on his North American trek,
he would have definitely questioned his theory of a round world
because out here..."She's-a-flat"!
 Big sky, harvest time in Manitoba.
When we got into Winnipeg Tom had surprised me with two nights
at the gorgeous old CP Hotel Fort Garry...
 She is one of the grand hotels from the era of growth and optimism
when the train was the preferred method of travel and business and every large city
had a big, fancy hotel near the even grander Canadian Pacific Railway stations...
(back then it was the Grand Trunk and Grand Pacific Railway)
Our view at night looking out towards the Winnipeg station...
 The man behind these beautiful, luxurious hotels was Charles Melville Hays.
He was the President of the railway and wanted no expenses spared in the construction
of several of these hotels and railway stations.
Sadly he was one of the passengers on the Titanic and never lived to see the completion
of the Hotel Fort Garry or the Chateau Laurier.
In 1913 it cost $1,500,000 to build.
Imagine back in the day though...
Coming up to the front entrance...
 Porter behind you with your leather travelling cases.
Entering the lobby after days on the train...
Opening the door to your suite...
 Running a big tub of hot water...
There are reports of haunting throughout the hotel...
A worker who fell down the elevator shaft during construction
is said to roam the stairways...afraid to ride the elevator..
It reminded me of the hotel in the movie "The Shining".
Large, dark corridors...
 and this empty banquet room in particular...
But all spookiness aside, it really is a gorgeous old relic and Mr Hays
would have been proud of the finished product.
Many lovely art deco details are seen throughout the hotel.
There's even a beautiful old brass mailbox still in use for guests to post letters...
 Our only complaint was that there was a ballroom on the 7th floor directly below our
room with an extremely loud, disco thumping wedding going on.
The first night it was fine since we didn't get back to our room
until late and the music shut down about an hour later.
But the second night (another loud wedding happening) we requested
to switch rooms which the hotel kindly obliged.
We moved down to the 5th floor to another gorgeous room.
Luckily I didn't know at the time that there's a room
somewhere down there that is EXTREMELY haunted and
chambermaids are always trying to get out of having it
on their beat because of ghosts locking them in the room
and dark silhouettes standing by the foot of the bed at night,
not to mention bleeding walls and windows breaking for no reason...
no thanks!
The Fort Garry is a tribute to the glorious days of train travel.
My preferred way to go.
Not the super fast trains they have now but the old fashioned clickety clack
on the track, the slow rocking, meditating rumble on the rails.


Nancy Kay said...

Wow! What a place! It definitely is GRAND!

farmlady said...

This hotel rivals some of the hotels I stayed at in Germany. It's beautiful. I see a bit of "The Shining" in your photos, but it's really quite elegant and that room of yours was beautiful.
I gather you didn't see any ghosts at the end of your bed.

sandra hagan said...

Solid, dependable, elegant, era of royal designs.

Gorgeous wrap around luxury.

Love it, especially the stairs shot.

Nice thoughtful surprise.

I have begun a new blog, same name, the wild magnolia. g+ has determined my name to be the ID, rather than the blog. I'm working on this.