History of the Lord Elgin Hotel
It was in 1941 that the Lord Elgin, soon after known as the cornerstone of hospitality in Ottawa, was first established. Built by the Ford Hotel Company and named after the Right Honourable James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, 12th Earl of Kincardine and Governor General of British North America (1847-1854). The Lord Elgin Hotel enjoyed the distinguished patronage of the great grandson of James Bruce, the Right Honorable Andrew Bruce, 11th Earl of Elgin, 15th Earl of Kincardine who served as its Honorary Chairman for years afterward.
To mark the Lord Elgin Hotel’s 60th birthday, the owners undertook an impressive expansion and renovation program. Sixty additional guestrooms for a total of 355, the complete refurbishment of all 355 rooms, three thousand more square feet of Ottawa meeting space for a total of 13,000, and an enlarged health facility, including a new indoor swimming pool, saunas and a whirlpool.
Guestrooms have been inspired by the Biedermeier style, which emerged in Europe after the Napoleonic wars. This reflects the architecture of the original Lord Elgin, which is a clean, modern adaptation of the French Chateau style and is proudly part of traditional Canadian hotel architecture. The design work was supervised by Michael Valiquette, A.R.I.D.O. and was arrived at, after extensive consultation, with a group headed by Patrick Gillin of Gillin Engineering and Construction Limited, the hotel’s owners, and Donald Blakslee, former General Manager.
Tying the interior design together at this Ottawa hotel is the tulip. The Ottawa Tulip Festival, which radiates out through the National Capital’s parks, is the defining element in the tourism year for the city and therefore an obvious choice for the hotel’s artwork. Most guestrooms feature a commanding print of a white tulip on black background recalling the festive event.