It didn’t seem ironic to regulars having a final round at the Albion Motor Hotel that the last day of business at Ottawa’s oldest hotel would fall on Friday the 13th. They know the 140-year-old hotel will still stand as a heritage site in new development slated to start in spring of 1985. But most who came to hoist their glasses in farewell to their favorite watering hole don’t think any bar can live up to to what they consider the “friendliest place in town.” Sure the 50 rooms at the Albion are a little shabby now, and the Rideau Centre across the street makes the modest building pale in comparison. “But where else could you be insulted with such love by your waiter?” said Matt Napier, referring to the hotel’s crusty 72-year-old beerslinger, Ralph Moisan. Napier is now studying in at the University of Windsor, but the former customs officer extended his visit to Ottawa for coffin” of his former Ottawa hang-out. As for Moisan, who worked 30 years at the Belle Claire Hotel on Queen Street before it closed in 1974, most of what he had to say to customers about how he felt about the end of an era at the landmark was unprintable. But there was a trace of a tear in his eye when Moisan finally admitted he looked upon the Albion closing as “losing my second home,” though he insists he can still find employment as a bar waiter “just about anywhere.” Thomas C. Assaly Corp. and Jarvis Freedman, head of Equity Management International Ltd., were given approval by Ottawa Council last week to develop the city block surrounding the hotel. An 18-storey, 243-unit apartment building, 300-room hotel and recreational complex is planned on the site bounded by Daly Avenue, Nicholas, Waller and Besserer streets. The project is expected to cost about $75 million. Ken MacLennan, director of marketing for Assaly, said Friday that close to $5 million will be spent to renovate the Albion, designated a historical site in 1983. “The building will be renovated to the same state as in its heydays during the end of the last century, and will most likely Fred Cattroll. Citizen be turned into a restaurant serving customers at the new hotel,” said MacLennan. At least three sides of the building must remain standing. The fourth wall, facing Nicholas Street, will be torn down since that side of the original building underwent major renovations in the 1950s, when the Albion was owned by former NHL hockey star William Touhey.
If you look at my hanging fixtures on my porches (6) and the lights in my 2nd floor TV room (6) they all came from the Albion Hotel..
In July of 1984, Cumberland Township councillor Brian Coburn landed a good deal on a slightly used bar. At the same time, Ottawa collector Ian Macdonald was picking up some mirrors and chairs from the 1930s and an area farmer was buying a 40-year-old baler. But what they really bought were chunks of local history as the Albion Hotel, Ottawa’s oldest, bares its body and sells its soul this week. Because the 140-year-old hotel is to be incorporated in a $75-million hotel and residential complex, everything inside cash registers, pillows, switchboard and bar stools is to be sold, beginning today.
At a sale for dealers Wednesday, most of the larger items, such as stoves, bars and kitchen equipment, were bought. Macdonald is opening a 1 930s-st vie restaurant on Clarence Street in September. “I heard about the Albion closing and thought ‘Hey, that place is the 1930s personified’,” he said while walking out with chairs and octagon tables. Coburn, meanwhile, got a bonus with his buys, which included the $1,700 bar. As he and several helpers dismantled it, dozens of old, rusty coins were uncovered about $10 worth, some dating back to the 1920s. Coburn plans to use part of the bar and refrigerating equipment in his Navan restaurant, the Ballycastle, and save the rest for expansion.
The baler was used by hotel staff to crush and package paper and cardboard. The new owner intends to use it to bale wood shavings in his horse barn. Al Cohen, of Cohen and Cohen wreckers, handling the sale, said at least 100 dealers visited the hotel Wednesday. He predicted the hotel, at Nicholas and Daly streets, would be swamped today. For those wanting memorabilia, Albion Hotel blankets are selling for $5, while tavern chairs are going for $25. A sign promoting happy hour has a $2 price tag while another proclaiming the hotel’s ‘Showgirl Revue’ will cost $49. Black and white televisions are selling for $25, while glasses are 50 cents and red lounge chairs are $19. While some shoppers had history in mind, others were there strictly on business. Steve Valois, general manager of Capital Food Equipment, was eyeing a gas stove that had a $1,500 price tag.
He said the company, which specializes in used restaurant equipment, could turn the stove into a new-looking appliance by cleaning and sandblasting it. Thomas C. Assaly Corp. and Jarvis Freed-man, co-owners of the hotel, plan to build an 18-storey, 243-unit apartment building, 300-room hotel and recreational complex. The Albion was designated a heritage site in 1983 and $5-million is to be spent renovating the hotel. Construction is to start next spring, 1985.
Barry Augerahhh, the big “A”, safest bar in town, ’cause that’s where all the cops and judges from next door drank.
Andrew Bartholomew ChaplinThe Albion was a watering hole for the members of NDHQ’s Directorate of History that was lodged on the fourth floor of the Ogilvy Building in the 1970s.
September 3, 2015 · Raymond Bjornson shares this picture described as the Albion Hotel, a favorite Ottawa watering hole.No source, or date, alas.
Tania LevyThe portion of the Albion incorporated into the hotel, as its restaurant/bar is still there. It used to be Trio and was renamed The Albion Rooms recently. They make an excellent Caesar!
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