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The Fairmont Palliser Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Publish Date: 26-May-2014

Calgary, Alta Monday, May 26, 2014

Calgary’s Castle by the Tracks Announces Afternoon Tea Dance in the Street

Including Completion of More Than $12M Restoration,

Amnesty for Lost or Appropriated Items, Display of Historic Hotel Archives, a Locally Brewed Centennial Ale,

Alberta Heritage Day Tour and Talk with $100 Room Rate Offer and a Hotel History Book


June 1 marks the day The Fairmont Palliser opened its front doors for the first time exactly 100 years ago to welcome the world. To celebrate its centennial, the hotel is combining two of its most time-honoured traditions: the Tea Dance and the Street Dance.

Almost as soon as the hotel opened, Calgary’s “smart set” enjoyed recreation and even exercise at The Fairmont Palliser’s tea dances, or dansants. In the 1920s and 1930s, Calgarians danced well into the night each Stampede on 9th Avenue at the “Cowboy Ball” in—and outside of—The Fairmont Palliser.


On June 15, the hotel will host a grand Afternoon Tea Dance on the hotel’s front street, 9th Avenue S.W. from 2 – 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend this free outdoor event.  The program commences at 2:15 p.m., when members of City council will preside over a ribbon cutting ceremony at the hotel’s main entrance. Immediately afterward, birthday cake and tea will be served inside the lobby, where swing music by Summit Big Band and dancing by Toe Tappin’ Swing will get the crowd going.


The hotel will celebrate this milestone in grand style throughout the year, with everything from community events, historic tours, and an ongoing search for hotel memorabilia (including a long-lost goose-like gargoyle) to a centennial-priced weekend night in a Fairmont Room ($100 per person). In addition to centennial celebrations, the hotel will debut the results of restoration work totaling in excess of $12M.


“This is a remarkable milestone for The Fairmont Palliser and it’s surely one of the most exciting times in the hotel’s celebrated history,” said Dan McGowan, general manager. “With a massive renovation now complete, this iconic property is ready to begin its second century of operation in this community. What better way to celebrate the hotel than to draw on two of its oldest traditions, the tea dance and the street dance?”


“The hotel holds so many fond memories for so many Calgarians,” said Jacqueline Tyler, communications manager. “Whether it’s a first date, a wedding, an anniversary celebration – people have a connection with The Fairmont Palliser. That connection, as much as our 100 years in the community, is worth celebrating.”


“The significant investment over the last year includes the renovation of 133 guestrooms on three floors to now boast some of downtown Calgary’s most luxurious hotel product, the addition of a 625-square- foot boulevard level Starbucks and an accessibility ramp with access off of 9th Avenue S.W.  The project also includes the complete revamp of the hotel’s grand lobby furniture.  The reimagining of these hotel spaces is a continuation to the major $5.6M 2011 launch of the Fairmont Gold  floors and exquisite Fairmont Gold Lounge, a thoughtful renovation which took into account the architectural details and historic significance of the property.”  


As part of the centennial celebrations, The Fairmont Palliser also launched an amnesty program to collect memorabilia to create a boulevard level display, open June 1, a history alley - to include with the hotel’s archives. The search for lost or appropriated items has a no questions asked policy with hopes to retrieve one special item: The Rimrock fireplace’s missing goose-like gargoyle. Already the hotel has received vast amounts of Canadian Pacific Railway dining cutlery, a hotel key from 1930s, vintage postcards, serving trays from the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Olympics when The Fairmont Palliser was host hotel, and much more.


A Centennial Ale will be launched together with Wild Rose Brewery on May 28 in the Oak Room Lounge from 4 – 8 p.m. The media and public are invited to attend a special tasting of this local specialty brew on tap meant for worldly visitors to taste a little bit of Alberta until the well runs dry!


The Fairmont Palliser will participate in Historic Calgary Week by hosting a centennial-themed tour and talk on August 4, Alberta Heritage Day. Advance registration will allow guests to make Aug. 3 room night reservations for $100 per guest plus tax and visitors are also encouraged to book Afternoon Tea following the presentation!

The Fairmont Palliser commissioned well-known historian Harry Sanders to complete the hotel’s history book to commemorate 100 years of the Castle by The Tracks  - book launch details to be announced by Fall 2014.


“The hotel was opened in 1914 with just the turning of a key,” said historian, Harry Sanders. “Just days earlier, the passenger ship Empress of Ireland went down in the St. Lawrence, so the management postponed the hotel’s opening ceremony, and it was never held. All the more reason, then, to celebrate The Fairmont Palliser and all that it has meant to everyone who entered its doors these last 100 years.”


Sunday, June 15 – Afternoon Tea Dance: This is a free outdoor event for the community where no registration is required. Media RSVP to for reserved seating/access by June 11, 2014. On event day, media will be required to check in by 1:45 p.m. in the hotel lobby. Event schedule and speaker line-up will be announced a few days prior via media advisory. Guests are encouraged to take public transportation (access to a nearby parkade off of 10th Avenue as there will be no parking available on site.)


Throughout the year, there will be a number of centennial activities at the hotel.  To learn more about the hotel’s history and to stay up-to-date on The Fairmont Palliser’s 100th anniversary, the public can contact the property’s centennial celebrations manager by email.


Historic Images Available.




The tea dance, or dansant, became a tradition for the city’s “smart set” almost as soon as The Fairmont Palliser opened in 1914. The tea dance evolved from the English tradition of serving afternoon tea. Its late-afternoon setting and buffet-style meal made it less complicated and less expensive than an evening supper and ball. Before long, The Fairmont Palliser added dinner dances and supper dances, and many of the army band musicians who played at those functions during the Second World War later formed the brass core of the city’s symphony orchestra.



Since 1914, The Fairmont Palliser has been the city's premier address, the cornerstone of Calgary's hospitality industry and a landmark building that is rich in history and architecture. For a century, The Fairmont Palliser has been the luxury Calgary hotel of choice to celebrate special occasions, and to welcome Royalty, celebrities, and visiting heads of states and nations from all around the world. For reservations or additional information please visit or call (800) 441-1414. Become a part of The Fairmont Palliser’s online communities at,,, and For career opportunities, visit



Fairmont Hotels & Resorts connects guests to the very best of its destinations worldwide, reflecting each locale's energy, culture and history. Passionate travelers choose the luxury hotel brand for its ability to deliver memorable travel experiences, personalized and thoughtful service, and hotels that are one-of-a-kind. Serving as genuine gateways to their destinations, Fairmont hotels offer locally-inspired cuisine and spirited bars and lounges, distinctive design and décor, and a steadfast responsibility to environmental and social priorities. With more than 65 hotels globally, and many more in development, landmark hotels in the Fairmont collection include The Plaza in New York, London’s The Savoy, Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai and Quebec City’s Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Fairmont is owned by FRHI Hotels & Resorts, a leading global hotel company with over 110 hotels under the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel brands. The company also manages Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel branded luxury private residence clubs, whole-ownership residences and serviced residences properties. For more information or reservations, please visit

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