One Hundred Years. A Million Memories.

In 1922 a luxury offering in the wild Canadian Rockies was born, accessible by way of the extraordinary Canadian National Railway that opened up a world of adventure. A stately rustic lodge surrounded by private wilderness cabins, located in the very grandest of natural settings – Jasper Park Lodge quickly became a glamourous destination for a true Rocky Mountain Experience. One hundred years later, little has changed. These magnificent mountains and gleaming lakes are older than time, spectacular as ever – a reminder that a century goes by in the blink of a human eye, while nature’s majesty persists. Yet, nowadays a luxury wilderness experience has a whole new cachet – sitting in exquisite contrast to the cities and technologies that define our modern existence.

Here, we unplug because nature is all-powerful and because Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge connects us to it. In the span of a hundred years, we’ve created millions of memories. That is reason to celebrate.

100 Years of Jasper Park Lodge

Tent City
In its humble beginnings on the shore of Lac Beauvert in 1915, Jasper Park Lodge existed simply as Tent City consisting of 10 pitched tents, a large dining area and an abundance of big dreams. There was recognized potential for tourism in the Canadian Rockies of Canada and now that access was supported by the railway, more desired than ever. At a modest cost of $2.50 a day, the first season was considered a success welcoming 260 visitors across Canada and abroad. Closing its doors only 1 year later as a World War had begun, it opened its doors once again in 1919. Alongside the reopening came the expansion of a lodge kitchen and dining room as well as a dance pavilion built for orchestras. Immerging from a merger came the Canadian National Railway Company, with money to spend and big plans for development beyond imagination.

Refined Luxury in a Wilderness Setting

Canadian National Railways took over Tent City promptly and opened the official “Jasper Park Lodge” in June 1922. Log bungalows were built to house 65 guests at a time with a dining hall constructed to host more, encouraging an overflow of guests to pitch a tent in the old “Tent City”. Knowing that luxurious hotel offerings would be attractive to tourists, the railway led by Sir Henry Thornton was ready to force a lucrative chain reaction through the town of Jasper. The main lodge was crafted from trees cleared from the site and then some from the near by Maligne Canyon. Planed lumber and local stone brought the rustic building to life by supplying glamourous hardwood floors and grand fireplaces while red cedar lined the roof. Marketed as the largest single story log structure in the world, the main lodge was amplified with lounges, a dining room, snack room, kitchen and administrative offices. The main lounge was the centerpiece, carefully decorated with wicker furniture, a magnificent stone fireplace and extravagant mounted animal heads. “As snug as a den and as spacious as the state-room in some great castle” was the lasting effect of the lodge’s charm that has continued to be the impression this uniquely rustic and luxurious property upholds to this very day.

Hollywood of the North

Known as Hollywood of the North, Jasper has been the hot spot for an impressive list actors and actresses from all areas of the world. The first feature film was The Country Beyond (1926) starring Olive Borden and Ralph Graves. The location was inspired by an advertisement during the time of the “Triangle Tour” that travelled to Jasper, Prince Rupert and Vancouver. The lodge itself was home to many scenes but was also
charted inch by inch and then reproduced as a Hollywood set fit for filming. Posing as Austrian Alp tops, the Canadian Rockies of Jasper, transformed themselves for the 1946 film The Emperor Waltz starring Bing Crosby and Joan Fontaine. Bing Crosby’s presence brought joy to the guests and staff in the Lodge as well as the township of Jasper as he shared his passions for golf and fishing on his time off from filming.

The glamourous Marylin Monroe has also had her fair share of Jasper beauty. In the 1953 film River of No Return, many scenes are filmed within the borders of the monumental Jasper National Park.

A Royal Retreat

The late Queen and several members of the Royal Family have stayed at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. When they do come, they historically all stay in one specific Signature Cabin – Outlook Cabin. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939 and Princess Margaret in 1980. Although a short stay, their time in Outlook Cabin was said to be relaxing and impressive. They were active across the park visiting Maligne Canyon, Edith Cavell and a variety of turquoise lit lakes. Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2005 stayed in Outlook Cabin while they were touring the province of Alberta for Alberta’s 100th.

A Lost Love

Everyday Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge yields unforgettable memories that last a lifetime, however some memories stay with us forever. It is said that a young maiden’s soul waits forever in the main dining room as she waits for her lost love to return from an expedition that he never came back from. Her figure can be seen in this image. A harmless reminder that love lives on forever.


A Ruin Rebuilt and Reborn

As we reminisce in the triumphs of the Jasper Park Lodge we can’t help but also remember the times our legacy was tried by inconceivable events. July 15th, 1952 the resilience of the Main Lodge was put to the ultimate test when a spectacular fire arose and destroyed the entire building. 580 guests and 500 employees escaped unscathed with only one injured, Len P. Peters, in heroic efforts to ensure all guests and employees had escaped from the lodge which had become a sea of flames in minutes.

The fire was discovered by an unidentified person in the evening. 200 guests had just started dancing to the music of the Len Hopkins orchestra when a guest ran into the ballroom to warn of the fire. At the same moment, the dancing guests and the musicians saw flames sweeping down the ballroom floor. The fire, which caused $1-million damage, broke out in a small checkroom while guests danced in the main ballroom of the 30-year-old main lodge. The 30 “luxurious” cabins/bungalows that fanned out from the lodge and housed most of the guests, were undamaged. But the loss of the eight bedrooms in the main lodge left 20 guests to sleep in a Canadian National Railways railcar. The resort, which was owned at the time by the railway, was also left without kitchen and dining services, so guests were sent to Edmonton on a special train the next day. The lodge continued to operate for the rest of the season with the available facilities in the staff building. In astonishing efforts the lodge was rebuilt to full capacity only a year later and remains standing strong and proud for the last 70 years.

Hundreds of Reasons to Celebrate

We invite everyone to join in our celebration — from our on-property Heartists to our closest neighbours in Jasper, to our next-door neighbours in Alberta, to our wider Canadian friends – and to all those around the world who seek the definitive Canadian wilderness experience.