Hotel Macdonald

Arguably Edmonton's most iconic building, the Hotel Macdonald has been a fixture on the city’s skyline since it was completed in 1915.


The Hotel Macdonald has been Edmonton’s grand landmark hotel since it was built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1915. It was designed by the Montreal architectural firm of Ross & Macdonald who designed noteworthy buildings across Canada, including Toronto’s Royal York Hotel and Maple Leaf Gardens. Designed to impress, the L-shaped, seven storey hotel had high pitched irregular rooflines and copper dormers. The building was finished with fine limestone, and included ground floor arcades and arches, corbelled balconies, and many turrets and finials. Guests of the newly built hotel were treated to all the modern conveniences, including electric elevators, dumbwaiters, modern heating and ventilating systems.

The hotel is Named for Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, whose legacy is being revisited due to his policies towards Indigenous people. There have been many celebrities and dignitaries who have graced the hotel’s Victorian corridors including King George VI and the Queen Consort, Queen Elizabeth II, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Rolling Stones, and U2. The hotel closed in 1983 and its future was in jeopardy. In order to save it from demolition and keep the iconic structure for future generations, the City of Edmonton designated it as their very first Municipal Historic Resource in 1985. It was carefully restored and reopened in 1991, returning it to its former glory. Today it remains a significant part of Edmonton’s built heritage and cultural fabric.




Designation Status

Municipal Historic Resource



Year Built


Architectural Styles

Scottish Baronial

Character Defining Elements

Balcony , Balustrade , Carving , Flag pole , Gabled parapet , Hipped dormers , Hipped roof , Irregular footprint , Pier or Pillar , Pilaster , Portico , Quoins , Stone structure , Three storeys or more