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History Lesson - The Dominion Hotel
Sunday November 02 , 2014
Robert McKerman, a local pioneer, built the Dominion Hotel with profits from his farming ventures in 1903. At the time it was the most ornate building on Whyte Avenue. Although the building was simple in its three-storey brick structure, it was the facade that made it special and a landmark then and now. The facade consists of three tiers of elaborate Chinoiserie style decorated balconies supported by ornate wooden pillars, and topped by the distinctive Victorian styled green cupola.
Originally the hotel had 33 bedrooms, a spacious lobby, several public parlours, a beer parlour and dining facilities on the ground floor. It was during the prohibition years, beginning in 1916, when profits were dwindling, that the upper floors were converted into rental apartments and the street level area utilized by retail outlets. Subsequently the building was modified numerous times and over time lost its tower and began to settle to one side. In 1976, it was designated as a Registered Historic Resource. This lead to the facade being restored and almost entirely reconstructed in the early 1980's with a completely new four storey building behind the facade to accommodate offices and retail outlets. Known today as the Dominion Hotel Building, with its multiple users, the narrow corridors and various levels are an intriguing adventure for locals and tourists alike.
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