Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge luxury hotel has a firmly embedded place in the history of tourism in the Canadian Rockies. Its legacy began in 1915, in association with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Originally called “Tent City,” it consisted of ten large luxury tents located on the shores of Lac Beauvert, each with wooden floors and walls. There was also a main dining tent that turned into a social area in the evening for guests to play cards and visit.
In 1921 Canadian National Railways took over Tent City. They immediately renovated the existing camp to eight log cabins, and officially opened The Jasper Park Lodge in June of 1922. Expansion proceeded through 1923, with the addition of the first unit of the main building and additional guest cabins. Some of these original cabins still stand today. The main building was touted as the largest single-storey log structure in the world.
The 1920’s also saw the addition of Jasper’s world-famous golf course, designed by Canada’s master golf architect Stanley Thompson. Stanley Thompson’s design philosophy has been described as “natural artistry” and this rings true for the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf course. Imagine a course that hugs snow capped mountains, meanders past glacial-fed lakes and through a wildlife corridor featuring elk, caribou, bears and wolves. Stanley had the vision and a team that conceived and constructed a world-class course in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fairways are carved in the surrounding forests, giving priority to the natural contours of the mountains. As a result, the par 71 course features elevated tee boxes, dramatic bunkers and vistas that scan the surrounding mountain peaks.
In 1927 the Jasper Park Lodge was site to its very first movie filming, “The Country Beyond.” The Jasper Park Lodge was host to six films during the period of 1930 – 1946 including: “Under Suspicion” with Lois Moran, “The Emperors Waltz” starring Bing Crosby, “River of No Return” with Marilyn Monroe and “The Far Country” with Jimmy Stewart and Walter Brennan. Bing Crosby was a fan of the Jasper Park Lodge and the golf course. In 1947 Bing Crosby won the Jasper Park Lodge’s Golf Club’s Totem Pole Tournament. In his honour we have a cabin named after him; Crosby Cabin. In 1939 we had the honour of hosting King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. They stayed in Outlook Cabin and were quite impressed with it. Unfortunately, in 2000 the Outlook Cabin burnt down. Because there was so much history involved in this building, Fairmont wanted to keep as close to the original as possible. The same blue prints were used and the original furniture and paintings were matched. It is basically a replica of the old building but it has an additional 600 square feet to allow for wheel chair accessibility. In 2005, we once again had the honour to host royalty when Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip stayed in Outlook Cabin during their visit to Alberta to celebrate the Province’s 100th Anniversary. Moving forward, Outlook Cabin was crowned with the title: Outlook Cabin, the Royal’s Retreat.
Disaster struck in July of 1952, when the original main building was destroyed by a fire. By September of the same year, the concrete foundation for a new building was poured. Completed in June of the following year, Jasper Park Lodge’s new main building featured stunning views of its surrounding lakes and mountains and epitomizes the Grand Rocky Mountain Experience. Between the early 1940’s and 1950’s, most of the original log cabins were replaced with modern cedar cabins. The 1960’s and early 70’s saw the construction of our outdoor heated pool, tennis courts, golf club house and the Beauvert Suites located on the shores of Lac Beauvert. In 1988 the Jasper Park Lodge went from a summer resort to a four season resort. Up until that year, the Jasper Park Lodge would close for the winter with the exception of 3-4 managers. As Alberta only supplied a small amount of power to the Lodge in the winter, the lights were always kept off and the rounds were done by flashlight.
Today, while we celebrate our past we also are here to celebrate our future. We are putting in more than $16 million in renovations. The extensive project will touch almost every area of the resort, further enhancing the guest experience for years to come. This substantial investment and grand vision is another milestone in the rich history of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. The refurbishing of guest rooms have ensured that the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge will remain a four-season, four star destination resort for centuries to come.