blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

At the Château

Charles Melville Hays

Château Laurier pool
The Château Laurier, Ottawa's grand hotel, is 100 years old this year and on June 1st, current and former hotel staff are going to have a private party there to celebrate its birthday.

The man whose project the hotel originally was, Charles Melville Hays, never lived to see the its opening in 1912 because he perished with the Titanic that same year. His portrait hangs in the lower lobby near the pool. I saw the hotel pool, filled with salt water, on Friday, and it appeals to me, but if I want to indulge myself by swimming in it, a one-off visit to the obligatory Health Club would cost $20 plus tax, and a month's membership $125 plus tax. Maybe for the sake of keeping fit ...!

A corner of the Karsh Suite
Another impressive part of the guided tour was to the suite on the 4th floor where the world-famous, Armenian photographer Yousuf Karsh used to reside. It's preserved in the original style of furnishing with a chandelier donated by Karsh's wife, with Chinese cupboards and of course with photographs by Karsh hanging on the walls. More of these are on display in the entrance lobby and in Zoe's lounge (named after PM Wilfred Laurier's wife) with its grand piano.

Carpet in the foyer
More than 70 lady diplomats or wives of diplomats had turned up that day, as well as their Canadian friends in the Diplomatic Hospitality group, and the hotel had set aside the western end of the ballroom for coffee / tea and scones and jam, etc. to be enjoyed at round tables after our tours. Before we tucked in to the magnificent spread we were also treated to a Fashion Show of equally magnificent proportions, with fourteen tall and slender girls poised on tall and slender heels modelling Elena Hinke's flowing creations (turn your volume down before clicking on that link!) in black, royal blue, turquoise, mustard, olive greens and scarlet: smart, elegant and sophisticated clothes. Silks and black lace predominated. The audience was thrilled, and not a price tag in sight.

Ms. Hinke, left, with one of the models

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