Opening of the Château Frontenac [1893]

Quebec Mercury, December 18, 1893


A Glance at the Splendor of the Accomodation which the Ancien Capital can now offer to its visitors – The New C.P.R. Palace on the Terrace open to receive guests today.

The Chateau Fronteanc, Quebec’s magnificent new Hotel, was today formally opened for the reception of guests. The occasion will mark an important event in ancien capital history. Old Stadacona is indebted to the progressiveness of that great Canadian enterprise, the C.P.R., for this substantial addition to its public buildings, erected on Quebec’s most beautiful spot, the Dufferin Terrace, a site not excelled on this continent.

The hotel, the exterior of which has already been described in THE MERCURY, is one of the finest hostelleries in the world and offers to its patrons every comfort and luxury which money can supply. It is a landmark perched on Cap Diamond and rivals the King’s Bastion, a short distance off, at the Western end of the Terrace.

The main entrance and courtyard in Des Carriers street are on the style of the palatial hotels on the Continent of Europe, but are much finer than the Grand Hotel in Paris, for instance, which is perhaps the nearest approach of any of them to the Frontenac in this respect.

The floor of the vestibule and main office is of white and black marble mosaic and the counter and all other furnishings are of antique oak, and are very elaborate and beautiful. Upon the walls are a variety of inlaid tapestries. At the foot of the grand staircase are the arms of Fronteanc, and these, painted upon his shield and supported by knights in 16th century armor, are repeated over the ticket office and news stand. Frontenac and Montmagny are each of them represented in complete armor, bearing their arms and shield, and the arms of the Province are surmounted in some cases wit the names of distinguished Viceroys, including those of Champlain and Sherbrooke in addition to those already mentioned. There are also the arms of the Dominion and the Province, in some cases supported by griffins, and the dates  »1608-1893 », marking the epochs of the founding of Quebec and of the erection of the hotel.

The news and cigar stands, telegraph and tickets offices adjoin the hotel office, where the gentlemanly and experienced clerks are ready to locate guests and provide for their comfort. The writing room is a large apartment, the windows of which overlook the Terrace. To the right of the vestibule is the grand staircase. On the left at the end of the vestibule is the elevator. The vestibule, including offices and grand staircase, measures 62 by 45 feet. The rotunda, which is next the writing room, and quite easily reached from the vestibule, is circular in shap, 47 1/2 feet in diameter, – a very handsome apartment occupying the entire space upon this floor with in the large circular tower. On account of its shape and situation, its windowds afford magnificent views of the Terrace, the river and Levis, not only immediately in front but on either side. The same remark, of course, applies to the Ladies’ Parlor, which is in the same tower immediately above the rotunda and of the same size. The rotunda is floored in mosaic, like the main vestibule. The ceiling is paneled in very handsome designs by oak mouldings, and within these, are depicted alternately, the arms of Frontenac, of the Province and of the Dominion. The two fire places in the rotunda are of Vienna marble, and have very rich mantel pieces.

Photograph | Hotel Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City, QC, 1900 | MP-1979.22.188

Hotel Frontenac, Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City, QC, 1900

The walls of the corridor leading from the main vestibule to the Coffee Room are decorated with paintings of tapestry, in enlarged size, of the design from the reverse of the old bank tokens issued as penny pieces many years ago.

is a spacious apartment on the first floor, occupying the extremity of the wing that stretches towards St. Louis street. As in the case of the dining-room, which is immediately above it, the windows on the south side look across the court yard and over the Terrace and garden in the direction of the Citadel, and on the north side overlook the Post Office and the Place d’Armes. Its dimensions are almost those of the dining-room, which measures 58 feet by 45, the only difference in size being that one of the corners of the Coffee Room has been cut off. The furnishings of the room consists of a variety of oaken tables and chairs. Over the large marble fireplace is the motto from the crest, of the city of Quebec:  »Natura Fortis, Industria Crescit. » The walls are a rich brown color, which illuminated frieze below the cornices, and oak wainscotting.

is situated in the Place d’Armes extension of the Chateau, on the ground floor, immediately above the Coffee room. It has a breakfast room in the hexagonal tower and an annex, and together they have a seating capacity of three hundred. The floors of both are of oak in herring bone pattern. The tables are of different sizes. The dining chairs are of oak with leather backs and seats. But the most attrative features of the dining room itself are the magnificent views from the windows and the rare and beautiful tapestries that decorate the walls and are inserted all around them within the oaken-framed panels. The dining room mentel is a very beautiful and very elaborate piece of work.

On the same floor as the dining room are the drawing room and


The parlor being immediately above the Rotunda, in the large circular tower, corresponds with it in shape and dimensions, while the drawing-room is immediately above the hotel office. The view from both includes the river and opposite shores. The woodwork in both appartments is of white mahogany and the fireplaces are of the handsome marble known as Jaune Lamartine, lined with soapstone. The parlors and drawingrooms, as well as the corridors, and in fact all the rooms, on the first, second and third flats are carpeted in first quality Axminsters. The furniture in the drawing-rooms and parlors is beautifully upholstered, party in brocade and partly in corduroy to match the delicate tints of the walls. All around the upper cornice of the circular parlor are suspended electric lamps in a delicate shade, – some forty altogether, in addition to bracket lights.


The hotel contains no less than 170 bed-rooms, 93 of which are supplied with bath-rooms. Many of them are en suite, and connected by inside passages apart from the public corridors. All have wardrobes and open fireplaces, the grates being surrounded with Minton tiles of various shades. The washstands and fixtures in each room are of solid marble, the front supported on handsome brass or plated pillars and the under part open to view according to the most modern system of sanitary plumbing. They are all of course supplied with both hot and cold water. Thanks to the peculiar form of the building, these bed-rooms are of various shapes, and may be had either square, triangular, fan-shaped or oval, while others are ingeniously placed in the variously- shaped towers, from some of which, views may be had both up and down the river. The bedsteads throughtout the house are all of brass. The furniture is all of ak, in the 16th century style, and the rocking chairs and couches are upholstered in corduroy in neutral tints to match the painted walls of the rooms. As already stated, the rooms on the first three floors are carpeted in Axminsters. On the 4th, 5th and 6th flats the carpets are all Miltons. The upper bed-rooms are no less than 310 feet from the level of the St. Lawrence.

Photographie | Château Frontenac, Québec, QC, vers 1895 | VIEW-2691

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, QC, about 1895


there are several entrances to the Hotel. There is a ladies’ entrance leading up a handsome flight of steps to the main corridor on the first floor, close to the ladies’ reception room, which is close to the main vestibule, elevator, office, etc. The reception room occupies the hexagonal tower on the first floor, and there is an ante room annexed to it. Then there are direct entrances, on the level, from the Terrace into the ground floor of the Chateau. Two of these lead into the cafe and two into the bar. The bar is a large circular apartment, 46 feet in diameter, occupying the lower portion of the large circular tower of the building and is immediately below the rotunda. It is designed after the famous Hoffman House bar in New York city, the counter being circular and surrounding a centre column, in the oak trimmings of which are set plate glass panels. Two other entrances from the Terrace, and one from the court yard lead into


The cafe, which is really a public restaurant on a level with the Terrace, which it overlooks, occupies the Citadel end of the Terrace wing of the Chateau and will no dbout be largely utilized for refreshments and meals by people freuqenting the Terrace. At the back of the cafe, behind the serving counter, is a separated range for preparing the filling of orders given there. This room is almost exactly opposite the band stand on the Terrace. The sens of massiveness which prevades it is contributed to by the long row of heavy pillars, finished in oak, to the solid brass band surrounding which are fastened rows of electric lights. The cafe measures 92 feet by 44 feet 6 inches. Off the end of the cafe is a comfortable wine room. Off the corridor leading from the cafe towards the bar are large and beautifully fitted up lavatories.

Passing the bar, which has been already described, we reach the billiard room, a roomy apartment, which occupies the entire space immediately below the entrance vestibule and hotel offices, &c. It is 62 by 44 1/2 feet and will contain ten billiard tables.

Then, in the lower part of the hexagonal tower, we come to the barber’s shop, which is fitted up with the most modern conveniences. The center of the shop contains a large marble shampoo table with four bowls, supplied of course with hot and cold water, &c. The small rooms ar either side of the entrance to this shop are bath rooms. The barber’s shop has an area of 474 feet, and will contain four chairs.


The kitchens and their dependencies are immediately to the south of the main archway by which vehicles enter the court yard front. They are all paved in cement. From the scullery, all the refuse finds its way into a canal opening into furnaces below, where it is immediately consumed. The kitchens and dependencies occupy a space of 110 by 40 feet. Besides the kitchen proper, which contains an enormous range with several fires, there are large copper stock and vegetable boilers, completely away from the fires, the cooking in which is altogether by steam conveyed in pipes. Between the kitchen and the dining-room in the service or carving room, with, of course, an opening into each. From it a dumb-waiter runs down to the ante-chamber of the coffee room,a nd up to the nurses’s and children’s dining-room over the kitchen and on the third floor. This is an apartment of 34 feet square. Off the serving room and kitchen are the china and store rooms. The Haviland china all bears the monogram of the hotel on a band on its margin. Beyond the kitchen are the cold storage and refrigerator rooms. In the former the ice is all out of sight above the ceiling. In the refrigerator room no ice is employed at all. It is all cold air.

The servants’s bed-rooms are on the flat above,a nd below are the bake-room, servant’s dining room, waiters’room, receiving clerk’s office, etc. The massive boilers for heating the establishment and the pump for the elevatore are in the basement of the main building.

The entire building is illumintaed by electricity, and the chandeliers and bracket lamps for purposes of illumination are all exceedingly beautiful and many of them very novel in design, contributing largely to the perfect decoration of the interior.

On the north-eastern side of the hotel, that is to say between it and the first kiosque of the Terrace, is a large busterranean reservoir capable of containing 25,000 gallons of water in addition to the 5,000 gallons held by the four reservoirs place immediately under the roof. The hotel is thus rendered independent of the water main in case of a break.

The architect, Mr. Bruce Price, of New York, has every reason to feel proud of his work in connection with the Chateau Frontenac,and so has Mr. Felix Labelle, who built the entire structure for the Company.


The Manager of the Chateau Frontenac is H.S. Dunning, Esq, one of the most successful and most experienced hotel men in America. As his heads of departments, Mr. Dunning has selected the following:-

Chief Clerk – Mr. Frank Stanton, late of the Queen’s, Toronto.
Second Clerk – Mr. Nelson de Quetteville, who is already well and favorably known in Quebec.
Night Clerk – Mr. T. H. Horan, of Quebec.
Steward – Mr. John Brennan, the late successful Manage r of the St. Lawrence Hall, Cacouna.
Chef – Mr. Henry E. Journot, who has held similar positions at the Maison Doree, the Grand Hotel, and at the Elysee Palace, Paris, the Devonshire Club and the Star and Garter, London.
Housekeeper- Mrs. Newkirk, who has occupied a similar position in several leading hotels in New York.
Chief Barkeeper- Mr. George Haas.