FROM THE ARCHIVES

Looking back at 105 years of the Château Laurier

Royalty dined there. Photographer Yousuf Karsh had his studio there. And former prime minister R.B. Bennett even called it home. Now, the Château Laurier is turning 105 years old.

Historian Kevin Holland has written a book about the notable Ottawa hotel

The Château Laurier is seen from Parliament Hill in this photo from 1925. This year marks the iconic Ottawa hotel's 105th birthday. (Samuel J. Jarvis/Library and Archives Canada)

Royalty dined there. Photographer Yousuf Karsh had his studio there. And former prime minister R.B. Bennett even called it home.

The Fairmont Château Laurier celebrates its 105th birthday this year, and judging from the uproar over a proposed modern addition to the historic railroad hotel, it remains a beloved piece of Ottawa architecture.

"It's at the heart of Ottawa. It's been at the heart of Ottawa since 1912," said historian Kevin Holland, who's written a new book about the hotel's past called Château Laurier —  A Splendid Century.

Watch Ottawa crooner Paul Anka perform at the Château Laurier in this archival CBC recording from 1965. 1:58

"I think people of Ottawa are very passionate and very proud of the hotel, as an icon in the city and an icon across Canada," Holland told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning this week.

To commemorate the hotel's big anniversary, we've dug into the CBC archives to bring you a few scenes from the past century and change.

First, here's Ottawa crooner Paul Anka performing at the hotel in 1965 — and even paying homage to the Château Laurier through his lyrics.

Another undated fashion show at the Château Laurier hotel in Ottawa. 0:23

The Château Laurier was also where Ottawa's most fashionable came to gather — as these two undated, silent videos of fashion shows prove.

Women model clothing at a fashion show at the Château Laurier in this undated archival video. 0:34

Library and Archives Canada has also kept meticulous photographic records of the Château Laurier, from the regular folks who made their living at the hotel to the dignitaries who briefly graced its halls and ballrooms.

King George VI, second from left, and Queen Elizabeth, second from right, dine at the Château Laurier in 1939. Seated between them is former prime minister Mackenzie King. (National Film Board of Canada)
John Diefenbaker greets Queen Elizabeth II at a reception held inside the Château Laurier on Oct. 15, 1957. (Library and Archives Canada)
Long before skaters careened down giant ice chutes as part of the March 2017 Red Bull Crashed Ice championships, the Château Laurier occasionally served as the picturesque backdrop for tobogganers — as this photo from 1922 attests. (Topley Studio/Library and Archives Canada)
A man works inside the Château Laurier's icemaking room in this photo from 1929. (Library and Archives Canada)
A man immerses his hands and feet in a Schnee Bath — which was used to treat ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis — in this 1931 photo taken inside the Château Laurier's 'special treatment room.' (Library and Archives Canada)
The Château Laurier's exercise room is seen in this undated photo. (Library and Archives Canada)
An orchestra plays in the Château Laurier's Jasper room in 1929. (Library and Archives Canada)