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Macdonald Hotel


Other Names:
Hotel MacDonald

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Macdonald Hotel, built in the derivative Canadian Chateau style of the grand railway hotels, is one of Edmonton's foremost symbolic and visual landmarks. Fronting on 100 Street and MacDougall Hill adjacent to Frank Oliver Memorial Park in Edmonton's downtown core, it's strategically situated, L-shaped form and seven-storey Indiana limestone facades present a dignified and solid presence overlooking Edmonton's North Saskatchewan River valley.

Heritage Value
Completed in 1915 and named after Sir John A. MacDonald, the "Mac", as it has become affectionately known, is significant for its strong association with Edmontonians' social, cultural and political history as exemplified by the intense civic rancor when it closed its doors in 1983 and the protracted negotiations that led to its careful restoration and extraordinarily well received public reopening celebration in May of 1991. The centrepiece for royal visits, graduations, family birthdays, and a wide range of other occasions, the "Mac" continues to be a major contributor to Edmonton's collective memory.

The Macdonald Hotel is architecturally significant as an expression of the Chateau style preferred by Canadian transcontinental railways for their hotels, a style derived from French Renaissance-era chateaux. Characterized by high-pitched dormered roofs and inspired by French architectural elements, the Macdonald Hotel was designed for the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) Railway by architects Ross and MacFarlane, who also designed the Fort Garry Hotel and the Chateau Laurier.

Built by the GTP Railway and later owned by both the Canadian National Railway (CNR) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the MacDonald Hotel symbolizes Edmonton's participation in the great transcontinental railway initiatives of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The Macdonald Hotel's substantial visual landmark status can be attributed to its distinctive architecture and prominent location overlooking the North Saskatchewan River escarpment.

Source: City of Edmonton (Bylaw: 7700)

Character-Defining Elements
The Canadian Chateaux style is expressed in character-defining elements such as:
- the form, massing and scale of the L-shaped building;
- the recessed diagonal entranceway and perpendicular wings and turret;
- the steeply sloped dormered roofs including roof features such as high chimneys, projecting towers, turret roof and finials;
- the five arches of the entrance portico with order expression of four pillars and two pilasters including stone detailing such as gargoyles and provincial crests of the four western provinces;
- the major defining elements on all facades such as pilasters, balustrades, balconettes, overhangs, brackets, cornices, arches and keystones and other stone detailing;
- mouldings and decorative elements on all facades including hood mouldings, dentils, and panels;
- all blind arcades, windows and door openings, arched windows, leaded glass transoms, windowsills and transoms;
- all architectural metals such as copper roofing, cornices, bracketing and decorative eavestrough.

The cultural landscape and landmark character-defining elements of the Macdonald Hotel include:
- the Frank Oliver Memorial Park between the Macdonald Hotel and Jasper Avenue;
- the relationship of the building to MacDougall Hill, Jasper Avenue and 100th Street;
- the open space adjacent to the rear facades of the building overlooking the North Saskatchewan River valley;
- the views of the North Saskatchewan River valley from the hotel and adjacent grounds; the open space and gardens at the east side of the building.


Street Address: 10065 - 100 Street
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Plan 852 2037, Lot 2
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
13 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel


Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.540433 -113.489451 Secondary Source NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1984/11/27

Historical Information

Built: 1912 To 1915
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Trade and Commerce
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Hotel, Motel or Inn
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Hotel, Motel or Inn
Architect: Ross and MacFarlane
Builder: Canadian Stewart Company

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0012
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 5265
Website Link: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/planning_development/historic-resources.aspx
Data Source: City of Edmonton, Planning and Development Department, 10250 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3P4 (File: HC-2185)
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