In 1926 the Canadian Pacific Railway built a grand railway hotel in Regina an event which fueled the resolve of local Saskatoon businessmen to prove their community worthy of similar consideration.
The Saskatoon Board of Trade tirelessly petitioned the Canadian National Railway to undertake a project of equal consequence in Saskatoon. Their efforts were rewarded when on December 31, 1928 Sir Henry Thorton, President of the CNR, announced in his New Year’s greeting to Saskatoon Mayor G.W. Norman that a “...hotel consistent in size and character with an enterprising and progressive city” would begin construction “at once”.
In February, 1930, the excavation of the site began utilizing a steam thawer and gasoline excavator. Work progressed steadily and provided much needed employment during the hard times of the depression. Virtually all materials used in the construction were of Canadian origin including Tyndall stone from Manitoba, brick from Claybank, Sask., and tiles from Estevan, Sask.
On May 30, 1931 Walter Pratt, General Manager of Hotels, Sleeping and Dining Cars of the CNR announced that Sir Vere Brabazon Ponsonby, The Ninth Earl of Bessborough and Governor General of Canada had given consent for the hotel to be formally named “The Bessborough”.
Construction was complete this same year but due to difficult financial times the hotel failed to open until Horace N. Stovin became the first official registered guest on December 10, 1935 and the city celebrated the opening of it’s beloved castle.
A luncheon was held that day with approximately 300 business people in attendance, that evening 1000 dined at the newly opened hotel.
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