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Te Royal Alexandra: Winnipeg's forgotten luxury rail hotel

The Royal Alexandra Hotel. by Derek Gagnon

northeast corner of Higgins and Main in Winnipeg, you are actually travelling past the former site of the first true luxury hotel built in Winnipeg. Te Royal Alexandra Hotel was built on


the spot in 1905, with a 1915 expansion. Before the Fort Garry Hotel was built on Broadway, the ‘Royal Alex’ served as the premiere hotel for the railway hub that

Crossword ACROSS

1. Boris' partner in crime 8. Build up, as a fortune 13. Prayer beads

14. 1943 U.S. victory site 16. Printings

17. One who brings home the bacon

18. Like flowing lava 19. Lively

21. "____ to Pieces" (Patsy Cline hit)

22. China's currency 23. Day's opposite, in commercials 24. "Just so you know..." 25. Equity International co-founder Sam

26. Spot on a shirt, say 27. Basketball greats 30. Attain 31. You may have to do this before surfing

33. Waffle brand 35. 104 in old Rome 36. Speed

40. Kitchen appliances 42. Gape

43. Alphabet run 46. Partner of now 47. Like some straits 48. Russian villa 50. Generic addressee 52. In a ___ (flustered) 53. Ozzy's better half 54. Most sturdy

56. Mexican menu choice 57. Quintessences 58. Narrates

59. Comedian Chris Rush record "There's ____ in Ice Cream"

DOWN 1. Take a catnap 2. "____ Down to Sleep" (Sophie B.

November 2015

Hawkins hit) 3. Snitching 4. Disney mermaid 5. Common noun suffix 6. Female octopus 7. Military offensive 8. Had dinner at home 9. Feminine title 10. Notorious

11. South American capital 12. Honeys 13. Notes before fa 15. Intensely eager 20. Simba's friend 22. What oui and ja mean 25. Poker Flat chronicler Grey 26. USAF rank

28. Some disposable lighters Answers on next page Smart Biz 17

29. Steering strap 31. Online retailer's feature, sometimes 32. Conquered 34. Spin

35. Help run, as a party 37. "____ Eyes" (Eagles hit) 38. Made of clay 39. Monogram of "the Sage of Concord" 41. Kind of body network 44. Hatch a plot 45. Postgrad papers 47. They may be great 48. "Look what you ___ the carpet!" (mother's cry of frustration) 49. Liberal ___ 51. Gallup project

52. Small amount of liquid 55. G.I.'s address

Blasphemy Brews

Counterbal- ance

Disenchant- ment Fared

Gleaming Groups Halon Horde

Iciest Kilns Lentil Liars Lilts Liners Nasty Noting Obsessed Peril Preen


Proletarians Reads Reeks Reputations Salivates Satin Scatter Sexism Shrouds Smokes Stray

Tartan Thirtieth Thrice Tiding Twins Wheels Women Woofs

t’s not much to look at now, and it’s hard to imagine ti ever was. But if you drive past the empty lot on the

The Boudoir of the Vice Regal Suite of the Royal Alexandra Hotel.

Winnipeg had become in its early years. It was the jewel of the crown of the Cana- dian Pacific Railway’s hotels, with ornate fixtures and high ceilings it became a social gathering place, and attracted visi- tors including King George VI in 1939 and Princess Elizabeth in 1951. She visited again as Queen Elizabeth II in 1959. Though it’s been 110 years since the

hotel was built, the area it was in has not changed all that much. Te building of the hotel and railway station was hoped to kick-start the surrounding area, with small businesses and hotels lining the streets. Te seven-storey hotel was cer-

tainly not an eye sore. Built in the Beaux- Arts architecture style made familiar to Winnipeggers by Union Station and the Manitoba Legislative Building, and completed with limestone and red brick. Te Royal Alexandra, or ‘Royal Alex’, saw a decline in business as time went by. Passenger rail travel slowly was replaced by air transport, and the need for a major hotel next to a rail line diminished. Tat factor, couple with the fact that

generation of the area had not come along as was once hoped, resulted in CP shut- ting the doors of the hotel in 1967, with some of the furnishings sent to other CP

hotels, and other items sold to the public. Unlike some of the other architectural relics of the city that sat empty for ages, the Royal Alex was demolished in 1971. Te site remained owned by CP until the late 80s, with the next door station ceasing passenger service for their trains in 1978. Te site, along with the building next door, is now the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg. Some surviving parts of the building

itself are lion’s heads made of granite, some of which are located in the English Gardens at Assiniboine Park as well as at the end of Bannatyne Avenue in the Ex- change District east of Main Street.

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