Calgary

Banff's Mount Royal Hotel set to reopen on Canada Day

A rooftop fire sparked by a propane torch destroyed the 109-year-old building in December 2016.

Rooftop fire sparked by a propane torch destroyed the 109-year-old building in December 2016

Construction at the Mount Royal Hotel is still underway, but owners say they'll be ready for opening day Canada Day long weekend. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

A historic Banff hotel is scheduled to reopen in just over three weeks.

Owners of the Mount Royal Hotel say despite it being an active construction zone, they're on track and on budget.

The 109-year-old hotel right on Banff Avenue was devastated by fire and water damage in December 2016.

Investigators concluded the fire was accidentally ignited by a propane torch — which had gone undetected between construction materials and was left to smoulder for several hours before it became a full-blown fire sometime after 1 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2016.

Now, as desks are being installed in the front lobby and guest rooms wait on mattresses, Stuart Back with Pursuit, the company that owns the hotel, says they will be ready for their Canada Day reopening deadline.

"It's an important weekend, it's Canada Day long weekend and we said we would open then, and we will," he said.

Stuart Back of Pursuit, the company that owns Mount Royal Hotel, says they've invested more than $45 million into improvements to the 109-year-old building. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Pursuit has invested more than $45 million into the project, which includes safety upgrades, more accessibility and amenities like rooftop hot tubs.

David McKenna with Pursuit says while it's been tough to be closed for business for a year and a half, they improvements are worth it.

"We brought in every modern amenity, every modern life saving," he said. "So if you were building a building from scratch, we're built to that same standard."

David McKenna of Pursuit, says the hotel is already taking reservations, and they're filling up fast. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

McKenna said plumbing, wiring and heating have also been brought up to today's standard.

"I think we have now made sure that this building is going to stand for the next 109 years," he said.

The hotel is already taking reservations, and McKenna says they're filling up fast.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary, currently focused on bringing you stories related to safety on Calgary Transit. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson or reach her by email at lucie.edwardson@cbc.ca

With files from Terri Trembath

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