Built in 1906 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Royal Alex (as it was affectionately known) was demolished in 1971 — but not before the sumptuous Café was carefully removed and stored by Allan and Donni Stern of Winnipeg. It languished for nearly 25 years stored in a semi-trailer before being purchased by Streit Brothers Antiques of Whippletree Junction, near Duncan, BC, on Vancouver Island.
The Museum heard about the room at a time in 1999 when preliminary designs were being prepared for the new museum site. The timing was exceptional relative to the development plans — particularly the plans for a large multi-purpose space for expanded history and arts community programming and large tour groups. Rather than having to re-create an old-looking space with a new design, the Café provides an authentic heritage architectural room with appropriate railway lineage. It is a unique millennium project. Not only does the room speak to us from the early part of our 20th century, but also it is being designed — in a museum setting — to be around a long time, perhaps another millennium or longer ...
The Museum theme is unique since it deals with the lifestyle of railway travel, rather than the usual mechanical and technological themes employed at most railway museums. It also displays complete Canadian Pacific Railway luxury train 'sets' from different eras to present the theme. The inclusion of the railway hotel architecture to promote an historic travel experience that is unique.