A National Historic Site of Canada, the Fairmont Banff Springs has been a shining example of Canadian hospitality from its inception. William Cornelius Van Horne, the General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway, first considered constructing a grand hotel in the Canadian Rockies when several employees of his railroad stumbled across several mineral springs in 1883. Noticing a great opportunity to facilitate travel along the Canadian Pacific Railway, Van Horne immediately set about constructing a brilliant grand dame, with 764 rooms, that would be one of the world’s most luxurious. As such, he commissioned blueprints for an impressive hotel that would be situated at the convergence of the Bow and Spray rivers. Architect Bruce Price lead the design team, who relied upon Châteauesque-style architecture as the source of his inspiration. Construction commenced in 1886 and concluded some two years later. As soon as it debuted as the “Banff Springs Hotel” in 1886, it rapidly became one of the top three mountain resorts in North America.
From 1900 to the 1920s, several adjustments were made in order to update the hotel and its offerings to keep its longstanding status. Among the first construction projects undertaken around that time was the development of the hotel’s iconic 11-story tower. Designed by architect Walter Painter, it possessed an amazing array of woodwork and limestone native to Alberta. Canad.