Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Incredible Royal Eddie From Conception to Low Rental Housing...

The Royal Edward Hotel on May and George Streets opened its doors in February 1928. The photo on the left shows the vacant lot before it was started, and the one on the right shows its construction, likely taken from the top of the Chapples building. In the second photo the street from the bottom centre up the middle is Victoria Ave facing east.

These 3 photos show it by postcard through the years. The early '30's, the early '40's and the '60's. Love all those jalopies on the side. Obviously the early years had angle parking and was later changed to parallel. The corner business was the Canadian Pacific Telegraph office(as can be seen in the first and middle picture here if you enlarge them), which later became a restaurant which I believe that it is still a functioning restaurant today.

The low building off to the right in the left picture was the "D" Room (Dominion Room) Lounge. I remember spending many a time in that bar after I was of age. The "D" Room was to us, a bar of a little more upper class clients...LOL..then again...maybe not!! The photo on the right is the present day Royal Edward low rental housing units.

Here we have a fish eye photo of showing the 9 story building, designed in the Art Deco style and predominantly constructed of reinforced concrete by the architects Dorr and Dorr. The Royal Eddie as the locals called it hosted many dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II during here Canadian Centennial Tour, but during the 1970's economic conditions were too much and the hotel closed its doors. The building sat vacant for several years and faced the possibility of demolition(not uncommon for our city to destroy historic structures as we have witnessed through the years). In 1985 the hotel was ultimately saved from demolition when it was transformed into low income apartment units and in 1988 it was declared a designated heritage site(saved by time alone, YES...). The building goes by the name The Royal Edward Arms and is operated by Thunder Bay District Housing.
The last two photos are items from our collection. The "RE" wine glass, a stationery envelope, a sewing kit, matchbook, swizzle stick and a coaster from the old "D" Room.
I remember going to many very elegant weddings and other functions there and also my stag party was held there which I don't remember at all...just that it was there...LOL.
Names like the Main Dining Room, The Dominion Lounge, The Lord Nelson Lounge, The Lower Deck and Bell Hops in Chic uniforms with red pill-box style hats should all stand out in your mind as great memories of the Royal Eddie!


Anonymous said...

I spent a great deal of my youth in the "D Room" around 1968 to 1971. It was great lots of live bands and lots of people. I haven't been home since 1972 but I am coming back next summer for a visit. I have heard much of the downtown in Fort William has changed, I have nothing but wonderful memories of growing up there.

Dave Cano said...

You will find tons of changes when you arrive...and I'm sure not all to your liking. Thanks for the comments!