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Synopsis

For 100 years, the world has walked through the lobby of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the grand hotel set in a picturesque landscape where the Rideau Canal locks make their descent to the Ottawa River.

From the moment it opened in 1912, it was in the words of an old brochure "the place where politics and pleasure, finance and fashion meet ... the hub of the capital's wheel of affairs, a great and worthy centre of Canadian life."

This was where the Canadian government set up temporary quarters when the Parliament buildings burned in 1916. It was the place troops massed before heading to war. Photographer Yousuf Karsh lived and worked at the hotel. The CBC broadcast from it. The long list of famous guests includes Queen Elizabeth, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.

The dramatic silhouette of towers and steep roofs of the Chateau Laurier defines Ottawa for visitors and residents alike. Conical turrets rise from massive walls of Indiana limestone. Gables of the warm-coloured stone are carved with flowers, scrolls and creâsts. Dormer windows punctuate expanses of green copper roof.

Learn more about the Chateau, its history and the people behind it in this exquisite collection of stories and historical photos from the Ottawa Citizen.

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