Mount Royal Hotel Historical Information

The Mount Royal Hotel's history dates back to 1908 when it opened for business. Originally called the Banff Hotel, the red brick structure complete with a lead roof, boasted 60 rooms as well as a spacious dining room and billiard room. It was opened by Dave and Annie McDougall of Morley, Alberta at a time when Banff was little more than a CP Rail outpost, gaining some recognition as a starting point for guided backcountry adventures in the Canadian Rockies.
In November of 1912, the hotel was purchased from the McDougall family by Jim Brewster. The adventurous Brewster family of mountain guides started many tourism-related businesses in Banff National Park that continue to prosper today. At that time, the hotel was sold to Jim Brewster for $75,000 and it became one of the Brewster family's most lucrative investments, as tourism in Banff began to boom right before the war. It was not long before Jim began the expansion of the Mount Royal Hotel. He hired a new manager and quickly announced plans to enlarge the dining room, add an elevator and another 50 guest rooms. The hotel developed a reputation and identity tied to the town of Banff. In 1965, the hotel was sold by the Brewster family to Brewster Travel Canada.
The Mount Royal Hotel continues to be a great asset for Brewster Travel Canada, surviving the test of time and a fire disaster in 1967 that burned the old wing of the hotel almost to the ground. At the time of the fire, author Arthur Hailey happened to be staying at the hotel autographing copies of his latest novel, Hotel. Hailey and all the other guests escaped, and Hailey wrote an exclusive front page story in the Calgary Albertan describing the Mount Royal as a good hotel. "The Mount Royal had been a good hotel. Despite its age, it was well run, clean and efficient. It had something of that elusive thing called character."
In December 2016, the Mount Royal Hotel experienced a second fire. Thanks to the incredible work of local fire departments, RCMP and hotel staff, all guests and staff were safely evacuated and most of the hotel was saved. Work is being done to rebuild and revitalize one of Banff’s hotel icons.