"From its beginnings, the Empress hotel brought tourism, history and profit together. In the 1880's the general manager of Canadian Pacific Railway, William Cornelius Van Horne, was looking for a way to entice travellers onto the CPR's routes, and he hit upon the idea of a chain of luxury hotels from coast to coast. The quasi-medieval architecture that was becoming the CPR's signature would serve as an attraction in itself, providing a touch of "history" -- and a lot of luxury.
In 1903 Francis Rattenbury, the CPR's staff architect in Western Canada, drew up plans for what was then called simply the CPR hotel. Rattenbury was directed to take his inspiration for the Victoria hotel from the CPR's Château Frontenac in Quebec. The resulting design was his own imaginative Elizabethan, Jacobean and Gothic variation on the CPR's Franco-Scottish theme."

Alternate Walking Tour Web Site

The Fairmont Empress Hotel
The Empress Hotel, Victoria