< CANADA | MONTEBELLO: Fairmont Le Château Montebello
In February of 1930, the site where Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Canada hotel now stands was a clearing in the woods. Just four months later, the massive cedar Château was
complete: a building feat which captured the popular imagination of the time, inspiring newspaper features across North America and attracting crowds of onlookers.
This Outaouais resort project was the dream of a Swiss-American named Hubert Saddlemire, who was inspired by the châteaux of the Swiss Alps, and dubbed the project "Lucerne-in-Québec." A Finnish master-builder named Victor Nymark supervised the construction and woodworking teams, who worked in overlapping shifts around the clock, using electric lighting at night.
The construction team started by building a spur line from the nearby Canadian Pacific rail tracks; a line that would transport in a total of 1,200 carloads of timber and building materials for Saddlemire’s Montebello luxury resort. Camps were built to house the construction workers, who were as many as 3,500 at the peak of construction. Craftsmen used 10,000 red-cedar logs to build the resort's three main buildings, all cut and set by hand.
The Quebec luxury hotel is built on the grounds of what was once a 17th century Seigniorial estate, acquired in 1674 from the West Indies Company by Bishop Laval, the first Bishop of Québec. In 1801, the land was purchased by Québec's prominent Papineau Family and the grand Manor House was built. It still stands on the property today. The Manoir-Papineau National Historic site of Canada is open as a museum in the summer, and guests of the Château can easily stroll over for a look into the past.
For 40 years after its completion in 1930, the log château was the private retreat of the Seigniory Club, whose elite membership included reputed Canadian businessmen and politicians such as former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, and foreign dignitaries such as Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco. In 1970, the resort was taken over by Canadian Pacific Hotels, who re-named it Le Château Montebello, and opened its doors to the public for the first time. It swiftly became known as one of the prime luxury resorts in Quebec and throughout Eastern Canada.
Today, Fairmont Le Château Montebello luxury hotel attracts visitors from across Canada and around the world. The Outaouais resort has hosted a number of historic meetings, including a G-7 International Economic Summit, attended by political figures including Ronald Reagan, François Mitterand, Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Thatcher as well as NATO meetings. More recently, the Quebec luxury resort hosted the North American Leaders Summit welcoming President Bush, President Calderon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Whether guests come to solve the problems of the world or to seek a weekend's relaxation, Fairmont Le Château Montebello is an exceptional Quebec luxury hotel that offers a tranquil setting, excellent service and refined cuisine.
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