A favourite with Winnipegers, and the thousands of travellers over the years when railway travel was in its heyday, the Café became synonymous with style, Edwardian elegance, and first class service. Winnipeg was the gateway to western Canada at the turn of the century, and the Royal Alex and its Café welcomed and served all of its visitors in grand style.
Up until World War I, the CPR was the only transcontinental railway in the country, and it passed right by the hotel which was attached directly to the station.
The entire room - all 2,900 square feet - was constructed of quarter-sawn white oak. Eight sets of unusual curved double french doors graced the room, and five large windows looked out over a courtyard with a top pane in heavy leaded glass. Above each of the 16 wall columns were "bronzed" cast plaster "capitals", over which was an elaborate cornice banding the room.
Above this was a high curving beamed ceiling, with recessed segmented vaults, rising to a height of almost 23 feet. It was topped with a series of skylights - "letting in soft amber light" - as an early brochure noted.
Eight chandeliers - each one hanging down 12 feet and weighing 1/4 ton - helped light the room at night. This was reinforced by 12 double wall sconces and 4 additional corner sconces, the design of which along with the oak, helped create a "baronial atmosphere" as another early brochure stated.
Architectural Details and Features