Sunday, September 16, 2012

220 Carlton Street - Carlton Motor Inn

Place: Carlton Motor Hotel (now Carlton Inn)
220 Carlton Street
Architect: Lloyd Finch
Opened: September 7, 1961
Cost: $ 1.5 m

October 21, 1961, Winnipeg Free Press

The Carlton Motor Hotel was financed by a consortium of local businessmen that included Sid Spivak. Its location in relation to Eaton's and the Bay and next to the Union bus depot ensured that it would be a successful venture.

The three storey hotel opened September 7, 1961 with 110 rooms, four of them executive suites. It featured two kidney-shaped, heated swimming pools, a coffee house and the Roaring Twenties Beverage Room featuring waitresses in period clothing.

John Nixon was its first manager, though E. Ray Hutton replaced him in February 1962. Hutton had worked for 21 years at the Royal Alexandria for CP Hotels and stayed with the Carlton for 18 years.

Likely the best known feature of the hotel was the Beachcomber Polynesian Restaurant and Hawaiian Cocktail Room. It was a Western Canadian chain that leased the space from the Carlton.

The eclectic furnishings for the space were assembled by
restaurant manager Jack Porter at a cost of $250,000, (almost $2 m in 2012 dollars.) Items were imported from Hawaii, Hong Kong, Fiji, Samoa and Mexico. There was a waterfall in the middle of the restaurant, an aquarium with live blow fish and a blue ceiling with twinkling "stars" embedded into it.

A number of the original chefs and cooks were brought in from China through Hong Kong.

October 26, 1962, Winnipeg Free Press

In October 1962 the hotel signed a 15-year franchise agreement with Sheraton Hotels, their first venture in Western Canada. The ownership of the hotel did not change but its presence did by connecting it to the reservation system of one of North America's largest hotel chains.

The bus depot relocated to Portage Avenue in 1964 but the hotel received a huge boost in 1975 with the opening of the Winnipeg Convention Centre right right next door.

Winnipeg Convention Centre

The Sheraton association ended in 1980 and the hotel was renamed the Carlton Inn. It was managed by Ben Pressman until his retirement in 1990.

The Beachcomber closed in 1990 and was replaced by Mr. Greek. It is now Paragon.

Tiki your fancy Winnipeg Free Press


The Carlton Inn will be torn down at the end of the summer as part of the Convention Centre expansion project.

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