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SEIGNIORY CLUB, MONTEBELLO

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Château Montebello Hotel. (Photo - Courtesy of Château Montebello) The workers were mostly French-speakers; the craftsmen included many Scandinavians skilled in log construction; and the architect was Harold Lawson. In 1930, they built here the largest log structure in the world. The original three buildings were constructed of 10,000 red cedar logs from B.C., and 500,000 hand-split cedar shakes for the roof, taking only four months to build.

It was a good Depression project: the construction village at its height housed 3,500 workers.

Château Montebello, c.1930s. (Photo - Farfan Collection) In 1929, H. M. Saddlemire had interested the C.P.R. and some Montreal businessmen in building a resort in Montebello. The Depression forced the C.P.R. to take over the entire project. Built on land once owned by Louis-Joseph Papineau, its purpose was to serve sportsmen: cross-country skiers, boaters, swimmers, and tennis players.

Main Lounge, Château Montebello, c.1940. (Photo - Farfan Collection)The club has hosted the elite from Toronto, Montreal, and the United States. Illustrious guests have included politicians (Lester B. Pearson), entertainers (Bette Davis), and sportsmen (Jackrabbit Johannsen). It has also been an important conference centre: Economic Summit (1981), NATO (1983), and the Eastern Canadian Premiers. This former Canadian Pacific Hotel, which became a private club, is now a hotel, the Château Montebello.