The Fairmont Empress Hotel bar, Victoria BC. Canada. Home to the Empress Violet Gin Martini.
The Empress Hotel was designated a national historic site in 1980 because it is a Chateau-style hotel of national significance as an architectural type.
Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the Empress Hotel is one of a series of Chateau-style hotels built by Canadian railway companies in the early 20th century to encourage tourists to travel their transcontinental routes. Popular with the travelling public for their elaborate decor and comfortable elegance, these hotels quickly became national symbols of quality accommodation. The Chateau-style vocabulary used by the railway hotels evolved as a distinctly Canadian architectural type. The Empress signals the beginning of this evolution from a strictly Chateau-style design towards one that incorporated contemporary forms. Built in 1904-08 to designs by Francis M. Rattenbury, the Empress was enlarged in 1910-12 to designs by W.S. Painter and in 1928 to designs by J.W. Orrock.