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the Winnipeg skyline.


marble inlay floors, stone walls and pan- elled ceilings. Here two main dining rooms split off the foyer, which is sur- rounded by the second floor mezzanine. Te seventh floor, also built double- height, has two massive ballrooms, the Crystal and Concert ballrooms, which are adjoined by a reception hall and once offered a stunning view of the surround- ing prairie. Te original structure was 12 storeys tall with 340 rooms. Te hotel was entirely self-sufficient at


one time, equipped with its own bakery, butcher shop, laundry, artesian well wa-


thehubwinnipeg.com


ter and heating system. A printing press was lifted into the hotel to print menus and notices. Too heavy to move, a room was built around it and there it remains, accessible now only through a door on the roof. In addition to elaborate events the sev- enth floor was also occupied by Station CNRW, a radio station developed in 1924 to entertain both CN passengers and hotel guests. Music, hockey, chil- dren’s travel tales, news and economic reports were included in the program- ming delivered from the hotel.


Tragedy struck in 1971, when on Dec.


7, the hotel’s seventh floor caught fire. While the fire was contained and all 95 hotel guests were safely evacuated, the hotel suffered heavy fire and water dam- age to the top three floors. Fortunately the first three floors remained open dur- ing renovations. Te next 22 years were difficult ones


for the Fort Garry Hotel as the CNR began to divest itself of hotel proper- ties and tabled a plan to close the Fort Garry. Up stepped Harvard Invest- ment, owned by John “Jack” Perrin, a


Fall 2015 • 29


All photos courtesy of Ty McFadden.


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