Russell House (Ottawa)

The Russell House hotel was the most high-profile hotel in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for many decades. It was located at the corner of Sparks Street and Elgin Street, where Confederation Square is located today. The original building was built in the 1840s. Additions were made in the 1870s and the original building replaced in 1880. It closed in 1925 and was demolished in 1928.

Russell House
Russell House ca1893
The Russell House Hotel circa 1883
General information
Town or cityOttawa, Ontario
Coordinates45°25′25″N 75°41′43″W / 45.4235°N 75.6953°WCoordinates: 45°25′25″N 75°41′43″W / 45.4235°N 75.6953°W
Other information
Number of rooms250
Number of restaurants1


The Second Empire hotel was located at the southeast corner of Sparks Street and Elgin Street.[1] A small hotel was first built there in the 1840s and was named Campbell's Hotel after its proprietor. In 1863, it came under the ownership of James Gouin, who named it the Russell House after a family in the United States he managed a hotel for, in Quebec City. Gouin later built the Caledonia Springs Hotel, a famous spa in eastern Ontario, and was appointed Ottawa Postmaster by Sir John A. Macdonald.[2]

Ottawa's status as the capital of the new country created a pressing demand for hotel space. A new wing housing the dining room was built during the 1870s along Elgin Street. The original hotel was torn down and replaced in 1880, in the "Second Empire" style.[3][4]

For many decades the Russell House served as Ottawa's foremost hotel. Most Canadian politicians from this era spent time at the Russell House, and Wilfrid Laurier lived there for ten years before moving to Laurier House. International guests included Oscar Wilde and Anna Pavlova.[5]

On two occasions, important sport-related events occurred at the Russell House. In 1876, Ottawa's first rugby football team, the "Ottawas", was organized at Russell House, and play its first game three days later. The club would evolve to become the Ottawa Rough Riders football club.[6] In 1892, at a dinner at the Russell House to honor the Ottawa Hockey Club, Governor-General Lord Stanley announced he would offer a trophy to the top Canadian ice hockey team, the genesis of the Stanley Cup.

In 1912, the Château Laurier succeeded the Russell as Ottawa's premier hotel. Money was spent on renovations in the 1920s, but the hotel had declined due to age and its closure was announced on September 1, 1925. Some of the reasons listed were the high cost of heating the structure, and the higher number of staff to operate the hotel, compared to a newer facility.[7] The Russell House closed permanently on October 1, 1925.[2] Ground-level shops remained open, but the hotel was emptied. On April 14, 1928, a fire broke out in the hotel,[8] and the hotel was mostly destroyed. The remains of the structure were demolished by November. The Government of Canada had been in the process of buying the property when the fire occurred, and the government used the land to expand Elgin Street to create Confederation Square. Various artifacts of the hotel are on display at the Bytown Museum.

Old Russell House Ottawa

The original hotel with new wing on right

Building the Russell House Ottawa

Construction of new main building in 1880

Ottawa Russell House Dining Room 1884

Dining room in 1884

Ottawa Russell House Drawing Room 1884

Drawing room in 1884

Russell Hotel Fire 1927 Ottawa

Ruins after fire in 1928

See also


  1. ^ "Plate 33". National Archives Canada.
  2. ^ a b Powell, James. "The Russell House Hotel". Today In Ottawa History.
  3. ^ Gordon, Charles (January 4, 2000). "Old realities in a new decade 1900-1909". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa. p. 1.
  4. ^ Denis Larionov & Alexander Zhulin. "Read the ebook Landmarks of Canada. What art has done for Canadian history; a guide to the J. Ross Robertson historical collection in the Public reference library, Toronto, Canada. This catalogue of the Toronto Public Libraries". Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  5. ^ Atherton, Tony (February 5, 2005). "Ottawa's Shoebox Part 2: The City In Frenzy (1880-1904)". Ottawa Citizen. p. B4.
  6. ^ Boswell, Randy. "Ottawa's got game". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  7. ^ "Accomodation [sic] To Be Acute Problem". Ottawa Citizen. September 2, 1925. p. 4.
  8. ^ Woods, Shirley E. Jr. (1980), Ottawa: The Capital of Canada, Toronto: Doubleday Canada, p. 265, ISBN 0-385-14722-8

External links

Chateau Aeroport-Mirabel

The Chateau Aeroport-Mirabel is an abandoned resort themed hotel at the Mirabel International Airport in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada. It is located next to where the airport's passenger terminal building formerly stood, and was connected to it via a skyway (still left standing). The hotel closed in 2002.

Chestnut Residence

89 Chestnut Residence is a university residence operated by the University of Toronto, opposite the Metropolitan Hotel at 89 Chestnut Street. It was converted from the Colony Hotel in 2004 and turned into a student residence to accommodate the incoming double cohort in 2003 and 2004. It is located in downtown Toronto.

The building was originally constructed as a Motel 11 by the firm Armstrong and Molesworth, a discontinued brand of motels. When it opened in at the Holiday Inn Downtown 1972 it was the fourth largest hotel in the city, with 749 rooms. It cost some $18 million to build and was built on the site of many small buildings of what was then the centre of Toronto's First Chinatown. The hotel was purchased by Hong Kong investor Sally Aw for $73 million in 1989 and renamed the Colony Hotel. The hotel was later partly owned by Aw's listed company Sing Tao Holdings, via Singdeer Joint Ventures. Aw sold Singtao Holdings in 1999. The university purchased the hotel for C$67.6 million in 2003 from Global China Group Holdings (the new owner of ex-Sing Tao Holdings' media business) and other owner of the joint venture, at the height of a downturn in Toronto's hotel industry.

Prior to buying the hotel the University of Toronto had rented space to house 400 students at the Primrose Hotel at Jarvis and Carlton.It has nearly 1000 residents from the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Until September 2008, it also accepted new applicants attending George Brown College and Ryerson University.It has a conference centre and a revolving room on the 27th floor (opened as La Ronde restaurant in 1972 and now student lounge called The Lookout). It is the most expensive residence of all University of Toronto residences and has a reputation of providing luxurious accommodation and food. The university retained the hotel chef after purchasing it. Chestnut is also home to a larger number of international students than any other residence.The Chestnut Residence Council is the student governing body for social, athletic and community affairs of the Residence. It organizes activities such as: the annual Chestnut semi-formal, coffee houses and open mic nights, ski and snowboarding trips, and intramural sports tournaments.

Duke of York Inn, Toronto

The Duke LIVE is a restaurant/pub that was a 19th-century inn in Toronto, Ontario located at 1225 Queen Street East. Originally known as "The Duke of York," the building served as an inn with a restaurant/pub on the main floor. The inn no longer operates, but the restaurant and bar is still in business. For many years a mural of John Wayne was painted on the wall of the first floor of the building's exterior. The original name of this first location is likely for the Duke of York at the time, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.

Empress Hotel (Toronto)

The Empress Hotel was a three-storey red-brick building at the corner of Yonge and Gould streets, in downtown Toronto, that was destroyed by fire on January 3, 2011.

The hotel was opened in 1888.

The hotel changed hands several times.

The property ceased operating as a hotel in the mid-1970s.

Exchange Coffee House, Montreal

First known as the "City Tavern," kept by Robert Tesseyman, this 19th-century hotel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was a popular meeting place of the Beaver Club before later becoming the Exchange Coffee House. In 1805, Samuel Gerrard proposed building Nelson's Column, Montreal here. The hotel was a common place of rest for transient travellers and Upper Canada merchants. It became the location of the first stock transactions in Montreal.

Grand Forks Hotel

The Grand Forks Hotel was a prominent roadhouse during the Klondike Gold Rush, situated near Dawson City in the Yukon region of Canada.

Hotel Vancouver (1916)

The Hotel Vancouver, the second of three by that name, was a 15 story (77m) Italian Renaissance style hotel built in 1916 by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The architect was Francis S. Swales.

The hotel closed in 1939, when an arrangement was made with rival Canadian National Railway (CNR) to jointly operate CNR's new hotel, located two blocks away. That hotel, which took over the name Hotel Vancouver, is still operating today. The 1916 CPR building survived until 1949 when it was demolished by the Eaton's department store chain.

Inn on the Park

Inn on the Park was a luxury hotel which was formerly located on a hill overlooking Leslie Street and Eglinton Avenue in North York, Ontario. It was one of the early Toronto hotels operated by the Four Seasons Hotel chain.

John Finch's Hotel

Finch Hotel opened in 1848 by John Finch on Lot # 2, Concession # 1 (200 acres (81 ha)), Toronto owned by Thomas Johnson since the late 1790s.

Laurentian Hotel

The Laurentian Hotel was a 1000-room hotel on Dorchester Street, now René Lévesque Boulevard, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The hotel was built in 1948 and demolished in 1978. The building was designed by Charles Davis Goodman, who was the architect of a number of prominent Streamline Moderne structures in the city, including the Jewish General Hospital and Bens De Luxe Delicatessen & Restaurant.At the time, it was the largest hotel ever demolished in Canada. The La Laurentienne Building now stands on the site of the former hotel.

Les Cours Mont-Royal

Les Cours Mont-Royal is an upscale shopping centre in Downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada which was converted from the former Mount Royal Hotel.

List of defunct hotels in Canada

This is a list of defunct hotels in Canada.

Lord Simcoe Hotel

Lord Simcoe Hotel was one of many of lost hotels in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Built in 1956, the 20 storey concrete and glass modernist structure was designed by Henry T. Langston and Peter Dickinson. The hotel was named for John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada and a resident of York, Upper Canada (now Toronto). The name was somewhat incorrect as Simcoe was never called himself a Lord.

Located on the northeast corner of King Street and University Avenue (150 King Street West), it was closed in 1979 and torn down in 1981. It was replaced by the Sun Life Centre East Tower in 1984. The hotel was unable to compete with other downtown hotels due to a lack of central air conditioning and convention space. It consistently lost money over its 24-year existence.

Montgomery's Inn

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Rossin House Hotel

Rossin House Hotel was a mid-19th Century hotel located at the southeast corner of King Street and York Street in Toronto. The original structure was built in 1856 and was destroyed by a fire and re-built in 1863. It was one of the city's pre-eminent hotels, with one 1866 guide claiming: "What the Fifth Avenue Hotel is to New York, and the Windsor is to Montreal, so the celebrated Rossin House is to Toronto."The five-storey hotel was renamed the Prince George Hotel in 1909 after the future British monarch. It was demolished in 1969 to make way for architect Mies van der Rohe's Toronto-Dominion Centre, with the corner being further developed in 1984 for The Standard Life Center.

Russell House

Russell House may refer to:

in CanadaRussell House (Ottawa), a historic former hotel in Ottawa, Ontarioin the United States(by state then city)

Russell Family Historic District, Alexander City, Alabama, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in Tallapoosa County

John Russell House, Fordyce, Arkansas, listed on the NRHP in Dallas County

Russell House (Pine Bluff, Arkansas), formerly listed on the NRHP in Jefferson County

Russell-Williamson House, Yuma, Arizona, listed on the NRHP in Yuma County

Russell-Graves House, Arvada, Colorado, listed on the NRHP in Jefferson County

Edward Augustus Russell House, Middletown, Connecticut, listed on the NRHP at Wesleyan University in Middlesex County

Samuel Wadsworth Russell House, Middletown, Connecticut, a National Historic Landmark and listed on the NRHP in Middlesex County

William Russell House (Lewes, Delaware), listed on the NRHP in Sussex County

Judge Willis Russell House, Brooksville, Florida, listed on the NRHP in Hernando County

Russell Homeplace Historic District, Russell, Georgia, listed on the NRHP in Barrow County

Rensselaer Russell House, Waterloo, Iowa, listed on the NRHP in Black Hawk County

Horn-Vincent-Russell Estate, Mission Hills, Kansas, listed on the NRHP in Johnson County

Russell Court, La Grange, Kentucky, listed on the NRHP in Oldham County

Russell House (Andover, Massachusetts), listed on the NRHP in Essex County

Jason Russell House, Arlington, Massachusetts, listed on the NRHP in Middlesex County

Bartlett-Russell-Hedge House, Plymouth, Massachusetts, listed on the NRHP in Plymouth County

Philemon Russell House, Somerville, Massachusetts, listed on the NRHP in Middlesex County

Susan Russell House, Somerville, Massachusetts, listed on the NRHP in Middlesex County

The Russell (Worcester, Massachusetts), listed on the NRHP in Worcester County

Arthur H. Russell House, Winchester, Massachusetts, listed on the NRHP in Middlesex County

Charles Russell House (Winchester, Massachusetts), listed on the NRHP in Middlesex County

William Russell House (Crystal Falls, Michigan), listed on the NRHP in Iron County

The Russell (Detroit, Michigan)

Williamson-Russell-Rahilly House, Lake City, Minnesota, listed on the NRHP in Wabasha County

Russell's House at Corinthn, Mississippi, salient in the Civil War battle of the Siege of Corinthn.

Charlie and Nancy Russell Honeymoon Cabin, Cascade, Montana, listed on the NRHP in Cascade County

Charles M. Russell House and Studio, Great Falls, Montana, listed on the NRHP in Cascade County

Russell-Colbath House, Albany, New Hampshire, listed on the NRHP in Carroll County

Charles B. Russell House, Cincinnati, Ohio, listed on the NRHP in Hamilton County

Mark Russell House, Riverlea, Ohio, listed on the NRHP in Franklin County

Russell House (Bedford, Pennsylvania), listed on the NRHP in Bedford County

Joseph and William Russell House, in Providence, Rhode Island, listed on the NRHP in Providence County

Nathaniel Russell House, Charleston, South Carolina, listed on the NRHP in Charleston County

Russell House (Mountain Rest, South Carolina), listed on the NRHP in Oconee County

Evans-Russell House, Spartanburg, South Carolina, listed on the NRHP in Spartanburg County

Russell-Heath House, Stoneboro, SC, listed on the NRHP in Kershaw County

Avery Russell House, Farragut, Tennessee, listed on the NRHP in Knox County

Russell House (Springfield, Tennessee), listed on the NRHP in Robertson County

Russell-Lackey-Prater House, Louisville, Tennessee, listed on the NRHP in Blount County

Russell-Arnold House, Lufkin, Texas, listed on the NRHP in Angelina County

Russell House (South Bend, Washington), listed on the NRHP in Pacific County

Charles W. Russell House, Wheeling, West Virginia, listed on the NRHP in Ohio County

The Edwin

The Edwin is a three-storey building in Toronto, Ontario, Canada operated by WoodGreen Community Services to provide community housing. It incorporates the former New Edwin Hotel, built in 1905 to serve as a hotel for railway passengers coming from a now closed railway station at the foot of the Don Valley. It is located at the intersection of Queen Street East and Carroll Street, east of the Don River, in the Riverside subdistrict of South Riverdale.

In 2010 it reopened to provide transitional housing for homeless senior men for a project called "First Step to Home", and was renamed "The Edwin".

Warwick Hotel (Toronto)

The Warwick Hotel Toronto was a hotel located at the corner of Dundas Street East and Jarvis Street, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was notable as being the site of significant dance band performances until approximately 1960, after which it became notable as a location for burlesque entertainment.

Windsor Hotel (Montreal)

The Windsor Hotel (opened 1878, closed 1981) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is often considered to be the first grand hotel in Canada, and for decades billed itself as "the best in all the Dominion".

Sport in Ottawa
and festivals
Parks, squares, and
natural landmarks
Demolished structures
Defunct hotels in Canada
List of defunct hotels in Canada

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