Vintage Photo Series: ‘Fairmont Moments in Time 1900’s’

24490099-H1-NRF-0741904 Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel opens as the first hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The capital city literally grows up around it.

1907 – The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel opens in New York. That same day, the first motorised, metered taxi fleet makes an appearance on city streets, congregating at the hotel and offering free rides to guests. Room rates are USD 2.50 per night.

1912  Fairmont Château Laurier, Ottawa‘s opening is delayed when Charles Melville Hays, the hotel’s commissioner, perishes aboard the Titanic.


1920’s – During Prohibition, permanent residents and guests of The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria invent countless ways to hide their liquour. Winston Churchill is secretly served his favourite brandy in a china teapot. Naughty Prime Minister!


1927 – Kaspar the Lucky Black Cat makes his debut at The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel, joining the ranks of the elitist Other Club in lieu of a fourteenth guest. To this day he continues to round out dinner parties and now even has a restaurant named in his honour – Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill.


1929 The 18-hole Golf Course at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is built by Canadian golf master architect Stanley Thompson and opened by the Prince of Wales. It is the first course in the world to cost USD 1 million, the equivalent of approximately USD 25 million today.

The Fairmont Banff Springs #4 Stanley Thompson CourseBanff, Alberta Canada

1930’s The Fairmont Copley Plaza becomes the first hotel to install a skating rink…n’ice’!

The Savoy, the birthplace of some of the most famous cocktails in the world, becomes the first hotel to publish its own book of drink recipes. The Savoy Hotel Cocktail Book has remained in print ever since.


Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Québec is the biggest log construction in the world. It is made up of more than 10,000 red cedars imported from British Columbia by train. Employing more than 3,500 workers, it takes just three months to build.


1945 The Plaza’s legendary Oak Bar opens.

1946 – Britain’s Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) is seen in public with her husband-to-be, Prince Philip of Greece, for the first time at a wedding reception at The Savoy.

Savoy -  Princess Elizabeth & Prince Philip 1948

1948 – During the filming of Emperor Waltz at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, members of staff are hired to keep Bing Crosby from sneaking off to go fishing or golfing instead of completing the movie.


1953       Marilyn Monroe films “River of No Return” at The Fairmont Banff Springs. After she twists her ankle, bellboys drew straws for the job of assisting Marilyn in her wheelchair.

Marilyn Golfing at Banff Springs

1955 – Eloise Kay Thompson’s classic book about a precocious little girl’s adventures at The Plaza is published.

1969 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold their famous ‘Bed-In for Peace’ at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Montreal. International media converge on suite 1742, where the anthem of the anti-war movement, “Give Peace a Chance” is composed and recorded.

1975 – Princess Grace of Monaco officially opens Fairmont Monte Carlo. Built in part upon pillars approximately 49 feet high, the hotel is entirely heated and air conditioned by a sophisticated system which draws water from the Mediterranean.


1977 – The Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle gets “Sedated” when punk band The Ramones show up for a gig in the Georgian Room on their first West Coast tour. There’s only enough material for one set…so they play it twice.

1999 Fairmont Hotels and Canadian Pacific Hotels merge, forming Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a leading luxury hotel brand which today has over 65 landmark properties worldwide.

Contributor: Guy Hough

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a client of Magellan PR.  For more information, please visit, follow them on twitter @FairmontHotels, on Facebook/Fairmont Hotels and on Instagram and Pinterest, look for FairmontHotels.  Their community website is

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About magellanstraits

Magellan Straits showcases the observations & musings from Magellan PR, a boutique travel & lifestyle agency founded in 1998. We post items that are of interest from the clients we promote and from the travels and experiences that we independently undertake.
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2 Responses to Vintage Photo Series: ‘Fairmont Moments in Time 1900’s’

  1. Pingback: Kaspar comes into his own! | magellanstraits

  2. Pingback: Don’t judge a book by its cover | magellanstraits

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