The historic landmark is having a year-long birthday party, and everyone’s invited
By Katrina Caruso
Now would be a good time for a trip to Quebec City: the famous Fairmont Le Château Frontenac turns 125 this year and festivities will go on throughout the year to celebrate. Activities—many of them free—will range from cultural and historical events to outdoor experiences.
Known as a Quebec landmark for its architecture and reputed to be the world’s most photographed hotel, this National Historic Site of Canada is one of the grand hotels Canada’s railway companies built across the country in the late 18th and early 20th centuries. Opened in 1893, the luxurious hotel has a rich history that includes being the site of the Quebec Conferences of 1943 and ’44, when William Lyon Mackenzie King hosted Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt for wartime planning meetings. The conferences and other historic events will be commemorated throughout the year, including the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War on November 11.
Renovated in 2014, Le Château boasts more than 600 rooms and suites, each unique; this spring eight new suites will open, each dedicated to one of a list of distinguished guests of the past, including Queen Elizabeth, Pierre Trudeau, Alfred Hitchcock, and Charles de Gaulle.
Among the highlights of the 125th anniversary celebrations:
Carnaval de Québec began on January 26 and runs until February 11. Events occur on five main sites (and many additional locations) and include hockey games, cocktail soirées, axe throwing, live graffiti, skating, live performances, traditional Québécois dancing, and yoga.
On March 17, the hotel will host an afternoon of opera when Laval University’s music department presents Emmanuel Chabrier’s light comic opera L’Étoile.
Le Château’s Spring Festival in April will be fun for the whole family, with an Easter theme featuring chocolate and maple treats for anyone with a sweet tooth. On April 7 and 8, an open house will allow visitors to tour the hotel and explore the rooms.
July and August will offer a variety of events on Le Château’s history and formation. Don’t miss the hotel’s giant birthday cake on July 1 and 3, which will be served on Terrasse Dufferin.
On August 25 and 26, visit the Great Chefs Gathering, which will feature the traditional cuisine food of both Québécois and Indigenous chefs from the province.
September’s Harvest Festival will include workshops, food, and wine tastings.
And on December 18, you can celebrate the anniversary in style at a gala party to be held in Le Château’s ballroom.
Check out the complete calendar of Le Château’s anniversary activities here.
Photo: TQ/Sylvain Majeau.