British Columbia

Victoria's Empress Hotel wrapped in scaffolding for renovations

Victoria's Empress Hotel will be behind scaffolding until the spring as renovations are needed for the picturesque building after decades of damage from ivy growth.

Management to put picture of hotel on scaffolding to placate tourists

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      Victoria's Fairmont Empress Hotel will be behind scaffolding until the spring as renovations are needed for the picturesque building after decades of damage from ivy growth.

      The leafy plant gave the iconic hotel its signature look but now much of it has been cut-down from the 1908 building and scaffolding has gone up for crews to do their work.

      "Victoria is attached to the Empress and Empress is attached to Victoria," said Don Fennerty, the hotel's general manager. "So when you create a project like this you know there is going to be a lot of comments, there's going to be a lot of concerns."

      The hotel will remain open for business during the seven-month, $30 million renovation, and management has taken steps to keep tourists — looking for the much sought-after photograph with the hotel — happy.

      "There's going to be a picture of the Empress on the scaffolding," said Fennerty. "They'll get the look which will be great."

      As for the ivy that damaged the historic building, Fennerty says it will be allowed to grow back, but will be kept under tighter control.

      with files from the CBC's Megan Thomas

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