Building Profile – Hotel Selkirk

1920 Street

Originally called the Windsor Hotel, this famous building opened in 1903 on the corner of Jasper Ave. and 101 Street. Although it was built outside of what most consider to be the city centre, the Windsor grew to become one of the most popular and luxurious hotels in the city.

During the next ten or so years, the hotel went through a number of owners. It eventually landed in the hands of Robert McDonald. McDonald changed the name to the Selkirk and reopened the renovated property featuring the “European Hotel Plan” – meaning meals were not included in the price of the room.

The depression hit McDonald hard and eventually the Selkirk and his other property, the York Hotel, were taken over by McDougal & Secord. McDonald still remained as the proprietor of both properties. In 1922, Con Johnson took over the dining facilities at the hotel and opened Johnson’s Cafe. The Cafe was eventually expanded into the lobby area and the hotel’s front desk moved to the second floor. Johnson’s Cafe and the adjoining bar became a popular hangout for many of the sportswriters from the nearby Edmonton Journal.

The original Selkirk Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1962 and was replaced by the Royal Bank Building. The Hotel Selkirk you see at Fort Edmonton Park is set prior to the Johnson’s Cafe expansion and does not include additions like the Empire Taxi office and the Windsor Block.

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