At the turn of the 20th century, one specific style of architecture made its way across the continent via the Canadian railway system.  Châteauesque hotels were intended to cater to the developing railways across Canada and celebrate traveling in style by rail.  Many of the grand hotels are still in operation today and have been designated national landmarks.

The Style

The Châteauesque style was only popular from about 1880 to 1910.  Despite its relatively short-lived run, the style still influenced many private residences and hotels throughout North America.  Notably, Biltmore in North Carolina and the grand railway hotels of Canada.  Châteauesque architecture blended design cues from French chateaus, Gothic and Renaissance detailing, and Scottish baronial buildings.  This combination of styles led to buildings that were meant to impress, they were large, with heavily detailed facades, towers, and complex roof shapes.  

Banff Springs Hotel

Banff Springs Hotel
Kimpayant, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons







Opened in 1888 the Banff Springs Hotel, located in Banff, Alberta.  Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, it was one of the earliest grand railway hotels.  Châteauesque detailing is prominent on the main block of the hotel and the tower.  The main stylistic feature is the divided planes of the facade; whole building wings, towers, and dormers are offset from one another creating a layered look.

Château Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac
Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons







Opened in 1893 the Château Frontenac is located in Quebec City, Quebec.  Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway this building prominently features the steeply pitched complex roof shapes, round towers with conical roofs, and asymmetric plan characteristic of the Châteauesque style. 

Château Laurier

Chateau Laurier
D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons







Opened in 1912 the Château Laurier is located in Ottawa, Ontario, and was built by the Grand Trunk Railway.  This building highlights the Châteauesque aesthetics of having many dormers, ornate projecting gables, and decorative corbeling.

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