The Marlborough Hotel

A Century of History

The Manitoba Home Builders' Association is celebrating 75 years.

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Supplement to The Thursday, October 16, 2014 PA I D A D V E R T I S I N G F E AT U R E !e original owners of the Olympia Hotel were Italian immigrants. !ey were Leonardi Emma and Guiseppe (Joseph) Panaro, who operated a Main Street fruit store and confectioner, along with the Badali brothers, Augus- tine (Bill) and Guiseppe (Joe) who also ran a fruit store on the corner of Portage Avenue and Smith Street. !e four entrepreneurs pooled their capital, purchased the land and began their dream of building a high-class hotel in down- town Winnipeg. !e Olympia showcased Modern Gothic design with elements such as pointed arches, buttresses, spires, bay windows and pinnacles. !e exterior features imagery of "owers and grapevines on the exquisitely cra#ed stained glass windows, encased by handcra#ed window frames and iron marquee. !e interior was accentuated by imported $nishing materials – furniture and stained and leaded glass from England, silk brocades and tapestries from France, and Italian marble. Norma Dietz, Joseph Panaro's granddaughter, remembers the di%erent marble from her many visits to the hotel. "Fam- ily legend has it that each of the investors imported marble from their hometowns in Italy," she says. !e Olympia Hotel closed a mere six months later due to the war and failing economy, but soon a#erwards the Canadian government capitalized on its central location and moved its 184th Battalion into the hotel. On February 25, 1916, the Winnipeg Free Press reported "the recruits of this battalion are dining in the magni$cent Grill Room, and sleeping in palatial bedrooms, most of them with private baths and otherwise enjoying the privileges of the idle rich. All of which are having a marked in"uence on recruiting for this battalion." In the early Twenties, a $400,000 $ve-story addition was completed, topped by the stately Marlborough Hall ballroom on the 8th "oor. A group of businessmen purchased the now nine-storey hotel in 1924, and it reopened as !e Marlborough, a#er Britain's famous military leader, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. !e elegant dining room featuring a rib vaulted ceiling, walnut wainscoting with an orchestra gallery was named Churchill's a#er Sir Winston Churchill. !roughout the past century, the hotel has changed hands many times and has experienced many stops and starts, but it remains a Winnipeg landmark and a mainstay in the city's hotel market. Current owner Manfred Boehm is extremely proud of his acquisition of !e Marlborough Hotel and the role it has played in the city's evolution. "It has a history and a story and somehow has managed to capture many di%erent eras in Winnipeg," Boehm explains. "By no means is !e Marlborough a cookie cutter hotel, it's unique in its look and feel." Boehm says he is most proud at being able to maintain !e Marlborough's vintage charm. "It's not as easy as one would think." ON THE EVE OF WORLD WAR ONE (WW1) - NOVEMBER 14, 1914 - THE OLYMPIA HOTEL, KNOWN AS THE MINIATURE HOTEL DELUXE OF CANADA, THREW OPEN ITS DOORS IN THE HEART OF WINNIPEG. NOW KNOWN AS THE MARLBOROUGH HOTEL, IT REMAINS ONE OF THE CITY'S FINEST EXAMPLES OF GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE AND HISTORICAL GEMS. H O T E L T H E arlborough Established in 19 14 A Century of History World War l recruits outside the Olympia (Marlborough) Hotel - 1915 Marlborough Hotel - Timeline Provincial Archives of Manitoba 1913 - Construction began on what was originally a nine-storey structure, although only the !rst three storeys were erected. 1914 - The Olympia Hotel opened on November 18 with Mayor Thomas R. Deacon signing in as the !rst guest. 1915 - The Olympia Hotel suspended operations in May 1915, only six months after it had opened. 1915 - The hotel, during the First World War, became the barracks when the Canadian government moved the 184th Battalion into the hotel. 1921 - 1923 - The Olympia Hotel Company built an addition of six upper "oors as well as a two-storey ad- dition to the north side of the hotel. 1923 - Great West Securities purchased the hotel and renamed it, The Marlborough Hotel. 1925 - The Royal Canadian Legion was founded, at the historic Marlborough Hotel. 1956 - Nathan Rothstein bought The Marlborough and nearly doubled the number of rooms with the large $2 million dollar addition to the north end of the original building. 1960 - The hotel expanded into an eight-storey struc- ture featuring a top-"oor dining room, the Skyview Ballroom, 200 rooms, a cocktail lounge, beverage room, co#ee shop and basement grill room. 1975 - Great-West Life Assurance Company purchased the hotel and entered into an agreement with Delta Hotels to manage it as the Delta Marlborough Inn. 1976 - 1977 - The Marlborough underwent a $2 mil - lion dollar renovation of the suites into o$ce space and merchandise showrooms. 1991 - 1992 - The German-Canadian Congress purchased the building for $5.5 million dollars with plans to convert part of the space into a cultural centre and part into a senior's retirement community. Amid !nancial di$culties, the hotel closed its doors and laid o# 120 employees in August 1992. 1992 - Briman Management purchased The Marlborough Hotel, and it became a Ramada property. 2001 - Manitoba hotelier Manfred Boehm purchased The Marlborough Hotel. 2004 - The Marlborough acquired the next door Gar - rick Theatres and underwent a $3 million dollar reno- vation, encompassing a theatre, pool and waterslide, 4th "oor addition, and interior upgrades. 2009 - The hotel underwent a $275,000 renovation to the Skyview Ballroom and Entrance. 2013 - Boehm oversaw a $500,000 facelift of the hotel's exterior, including repairs of the facades, new ornamental lighting and signage. 2014 - The Marlborough Hotel celebrates its 100-year anniversary on Saturday, November 15, 2014.

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