The 'castle' was one of a string of hotels which the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed across Canada, all of which are known for their inspiring architecture. The construction of the Bessborough, named after British nobility, was begun in 1928 and was almost abandoned during the Depression. Residents and visitors are glad that construction was completed as the Saskatoon skyline would not be the same without the Bess.
At the time the Bess was constructed, land along the riverbank was cheap, providing a perfect opportunity for the railway company to turn a profit on the construction of the hotel. The natural vista provided the perfect spot for a hotel with 5 acres of private gardens surrounded by acres more of public park.
As the hotel is rated 4 star, I have not stayed in it (student budget here!). I have, however, attended conferences within and I must say that the interior inspires images of imperial grandeur a la the late Queen Mother and her era.
If you can afford to stay in the hotel itself, I highly recommend it. The 225 rooms on 6 floors were renovated in 2000. Prominent visitors to the city stay in this hotel (royalty and the like) when in town. Call (306) 244-5521 or toll free 1-800-268-1133 for reservations.
If you cannot afford to stay in this luxurious hotel, I highly recommend taking a walk down to the river and around the hotel in the public park. It provides for a stunning photo to take back home. You can tell people that Saskatoon indeed has a castle!
July 30, 2002
From journal Saskatoon - the City, not the Berry