Our city skyline is about to change, again. This time the victim is the St. Regis Hotel on Smith Street. Did you know it was one of Winnipeg’s oldest hotels? The demolition of the St. Regis will kick start a planned $200-million SkyCity Centre tower, which could take about three years to build.
One of my favourite features of the hotel was the mural showing what it used to look like in the days of horse drawn carriages and men that were never without a hat.
The start of its history was a partnership between two of early Winnipeg’s more prominent hoteliers.
Charles “Charlie” McCarrey and John “Jack” Lee. Lee was the splashier of the two partners, owning a professional hockey team called the Maple Leafs, (named after one of his hotels). He also owned thoroughbred racehorses, eventually amassing a stable of more than 20, said to be the largest in the city. The building at 285 Smith actually dates back to 1909 -1910 and was called the Rookery Block, a two-storey building with retail on the main floor and small residential suites above. Construction began in 1909, but thanks to a brutally cold winter, work fell behind and the building did not open until summer 1910. Barely a year after opening, tenants of the Rookery received notice to vacate so that the building could be converted into the St. Regis Hotel. Read more HERE.