365 Canadian Sights | Day 280: Railway Hotels – Chateau Frontenac

The hotel sits above the river like an old-world castle, ruling the area. | Image from Prayitno/Flickr used via CC BY 2.0 |

Owing to the railways of Canada, maybe the most unique yet consistent architectural features of the young nation-state are the hotels founded at tourist stops along the way.

While not the most famous structure in Canada, the Chateau Frontenac is the most iconic building in super historic Quebec City, one of Canada’s grand railway hotels (like in Lake Louise) and perhaps the most photographed hotel in the world.

The hotel itself was built in 1893 as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s line of hotels for wealthy travelers crisscrossing the country by train. At the time, Quebec City was one of the largest cities in the country, and the hotel matched the city’s prominence. Located above the St. Lawrence River, the famous waterway leading to the eastern seaboard, the hotel sits above shore like a castle on the Rhine.

While the classic (and at the time stylish) design is excellent up close, it’s really the long shots from the far shore of the river, or a boat crossing, that have become popular. There’s also a chance during the winter months to shoot from the river itself, though you’d have to stay close to shore as ice breakers clear the way for ferries and other river traffic.

While free to take photos of it, a night inside can be pretty pricey, going for more than $200 in a cheap room.


Located right in the middle of Quebec City, this isn’t a sight that needs directions. It’s the landmark you use to offer directions somewhere else. Easily accessible for pedestrians.

Unfortunately the TripAdvisor ratings for these hotels will be for them as hotels, not as sights, so we’ll skip them this week. That should be ok though, as there’s still a page for this UNESCO heritage site (it’s part of the Old Quebec City site), and national historic site (it stands alone there). There are tours of the hotel if you want. And of course it has an official site.

Editor’s Notes —This is an updated version of the post I published last year when I took the first swing at this project.

Photos • FeaturedGallery 1Gallery 2Gallery 3

2 thoughts on “365 Canadian Sights | Day 280: Railway Hotels – Chateau Frontenac

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