For Canada’s 150th Birthday this year,  I am devoting my ‘Vintage Travel To-Do-List‘ posts to cool places in Canada that you and I should visit.

Up first: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, located in Alberta’s Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

1920s Chateau Lake Louise Vinta
Source: Ebay

Historic Overview:

  • The lake in front of the hotel was originally called “Lake of Little Fishes” by the Stoney Indians who lived in the area. Then it because “The Emerald Lake” after a Canadian Pacific Railway employee who was introduced to it by the Stoney Indians. It would change names one last time, to Lake Louise in honor of Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta.
  • 1890-Chalet Lake Louise. One story log cabin constructed on the shores of Lake Louise, it hosted visitors from different dining stations along the railway line as well as day visitors from its elegant sister, the Banff Springs Hotel.
  • While only 50 guests registered at the chalet in 1890, by 1912, 50,000 guests had already slept there.
  • 2 Fires and 4 architects later,  the small cabin dating back to 1911 would become the Chateau Lake Louise standing today.
  • 1900’s Professional Swiss Mountain Guides were brought in to safely guide guests to the summits. Between 1899 and 1954, generations of these Swiss mountaineers taught thousands of visitors and locals to climb and, later, to ski.
  • Early movies shot in Lake Louise include 1928 ”Eternal Love” starring John Barrymore, 1942 ”Springtime in the Rockies” with Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda and 1944 ”Son of Lassie.”
  • Hundreds of stars have come here for filming or vacationing, including Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Alfred Hitchcock, and Marilyn Monroe.
  • The Chateau has also welcomed dozens of royals including Prince Rainier of Monaco, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan.
  • Due to gas rationing and patriotism, Chateau Lake Louise was closed to the public during WWII (Source).

1909 Lake Louise Chalet (not yet the Chateau)

Lake Louise Chalet Vintage Image 1909
Source: Historic Hotel then and Now

June 1928, now a Chateau (as you can tell from the increase in size).

Chateau Lake Louise 1928 vintage image
Source: Library & Archives Canada

Swimming at Chateau Lake Louise in the 1930’s.

1930s swimming in the pool at Chateau Lake Louise

Another view of the pool in the 30’s.

Outdoor swimming pool at the Chateau Lake Louise with swimmers 1930s vintage image
Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces

Queen Elizabeth II paying a visit.

Queen Elizabeth the second at Chateau Lake Louise vintage image

1942 ”Springtime in the Rockies” with Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda.


INTERIOR: Dining room 1930’s.

vintage image of the dining room of the chateau lake louise
Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces

Ladies lunching in the Lakeview Lounge, circa 1930’s. Wow what a view!

1930s vintage image of Chateau Lake Louise
Source: Historic Hotel then and Now

Tea Time-1935.

1935 tea time chateau lake louise
Source: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

The Chateau Today-The Magnificent Grand Lobby.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise grand lobby other view

My favorite room-The Victoria Ballroom.

Chateau Lake Louise Ballroom
Source: Design Locations

Lakeview Lounge. An updated version of the room seen in the vintage images above.

lakeview lounge chateau lake louise
Source: Pinterest
chateau lake louise lakeview lounge
Source: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Walliser Stube

chateau lake louise interior Walliser Stube


And that my friends is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. I hope you enjoyed our little online visit of this magnificent hotel and will consider adding it to your own ‘Vintage Travel To-Do-List. I know it’s on the top of mine!




7 comments on “Vintage Travel To-Do-List: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise”

  1. Goodness! Thanks for sharing these.

    Yup, nothing says “vacation in the magnificent Rockies on the shores of Lake Louise” like Carmen Miranda and Cesar Romero dancing up a storm. :^)

  2. How exciting! A place I’ve actually been to. It was only a brief stop on an afternoon tour over from Banff, and we spent a lot of that snow shoeing on the frozen lake, but we did go inside for a look around, and it is now on our “dream trip to Canada” itinerary. Being close to Christmas (just afterwards) the lobby was an absolute vision, and there was a harpist in historical garb just sitting there playing. All very fabulous. I’d love to sit under one of those big arched windows and have a meal looking out on that view!

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