The Fairmont Empress
The First Hundred YearsBook - 2008
A celebration of a Victoria landmark, The Empress Hotel, in honour of its one-hundredth birthday.
Based on archival records, memoirs, reminiscences, newspaper accounts and over a hundred interviews, this book is the first full account of the glorious life and times of one the world's legendary hotels: Victoria's Fairmont Empress. Like its famous siblings the Banff Springs Hotel, the Royal York and the Chateau Lake Louise, the Empress, built in 1908 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, was designed to accommodate wealthy world travellers. It was the centre of social life in Victoria. Its guests ranged from Hollywood stars such as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, John Wayne and Shirley Temple and reigning monarchs such as the King of Siam, the Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth ii, to characters like Florence French, who lived there for forty-two years and drove an electric car at a top speed of six miles an hour.
Today, the Empress remains a destination for afternoon tea, served in the classic, Edwardian tradition. Rosemary Neering-who has written about the Canadian west for more than twenty years-adds a chapter to this developing story, which delves into the hotel's evolution as it adapts to the changing landscape of the twenty-first century.