Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Transit Hotel

I was in Edmonton in February (which seems like years ago now) to see the Ice Castles and happened to be staying on the north side, which worked out pretty well for a couple buildings that I wanted to see. A friend also mentioned the Transit Hotel, which was also close to my location so off I went! I love it when things work out like that.

The Transit Hotel or just 'The Transit', opened in September 1908. It was built at a strategic location that was the start, or finish, of the journey between Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan. It is located on Fort Road which was the Fort Trail back then. This area was known as Packingtown due to its concentration of stockyards and packing plants. The new hotel boasted hot and cold water, bathrooms on the top floor, a telephone call system and electricity. A barbershop was even planned to open in the basement. The packing plants and stockyards are now long gone.

According to an article in the Edmonton Journal, not much remains of the original interior or exterior. Bob and Pauline Ruzycki bought the run-down hotel in the 80's spent a lot of time and money to restore the facade to its original boom-town architecture. This included the 2nd floor veranda, parapet and finialed roof line. Bob passed away in 2012 and his son Daryn ran the place until it closed in June 2017.  Patrons remember it not being a rough place since everyone knew everyone, however I bet this place has some stories!! If you know this place or have heard stories, please let me know.



Some old neon!

Then and Now c1912-13 to 2020 

c1912-13 courtesy of the Glenbow Archives

c1967-72 courtesy of the Provicial Archives of Alberta

How's everyone coping with the isolation? We are doing OK here, the days seem to go by fast enough. I am working from home which helps and the school has been giving assignments, so the kiddo has some school work to do to. Which I think is great! Take care out there and stay inside!



33 comments:

  1. ...what a neat building, it looks right out of a western movie! I'd like to link it to Signs2.

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  2. It's certainly one of the oldest buildings still left in Edmonton. Good thing the facade has been kept up. I've always just assumed it was otherwise just a flophouse now.

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    1. Hi Debra, I did also read people use to live in the rooms, so flophouse seems a good word for it.

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  3. I love the hotel. They did a great job restoring its beauty. The facade is incredible.

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    1. Thanks Bill, sure is a nice reminder of the days gone by!

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    1. Thanks Gorges! Not sure what its fate is now that it is closed.

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  5. An interesting old building with a story to tell. I am sure that every city has a treasure like this, sometimes unheralded perhaps, sometimes unknown even. We are coping quite well with this enforced isolation. Other than for the lack of socialization things have changed little for us. We have so far been able to buy what we need and have adequate food in the house. I suspect it might be like this for a while to come, however.

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    1. Hi David! I love exploring downtowns and older areas of any city or town, that's where the good stuff usually is. I imagine Alberta will be following the same path as Ontario soon.

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  6. It looks like the old west for sure. Love it! Great history!

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    1. Thanks Marie, I think my favourite part about taking photos is when I can find the history.

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    1. Thanks Agnes! Since Canada isn't that old compared to other parts of the world, this old building is a treasure!

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  8. They made a fine job of restoring that historic building which is so evocative of its era. You can't always be sure of what goes on behind the scenes in these places: I occasionally used a pub in London's East End when I was a student; it always seemed OK to me. I learned that it was the local of many gangland criminals including the notorious Kray twins - well, you wouldn't start any trouble in a place like that, would you?

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    1. Hi John! Seems funny that a building built in the early 1900's is so historic here! I am learning they had gerbil races in 90's! haha

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  9. This old building is a blast from the past. I hope the powers to be have declared it a history site.
    Covid-19... I have never seen anything like it. I am retired and the wife and I are spending most of our time at home. I go for walks and the City Of Pickering is looking like a ghost town. So far everything is going fine for us. Stay safe Jenn and keep your social distance. :-)

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    1. Hi Andy, I read that it's on the official register but has no heritage protection. Pretty quiet around here too, the days are all blending together lol. Yep, we have barely left the house and find walks a nice break.

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  10. Two words, "Gerbil Races", but only on the men's side of the tavern, not the women's. Not so many years ago, there was a Men and Escorts entrance, and the Women's side. Single women couldn't go to the men's side alone. You had to have a seat to get served, and if you wanted to move to another table, the waitress had to move your drink over for you. None of this walking around with a drink in your hand, it was illegal.

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    1. Thanks Coinoath! Quite a different drinking experience then!

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  11. it is a beautiful building but it is sad to see it empty. I hope someone gets brave and reopens it when all of our present turmoil is finished.
    We are coping well, doing long walks on quiet streets and staying in touch with friends by phone & email.

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    1. Hi Redpat, yes thank goodness for technology and video chats, even my 10 y/o son had a video chat with his friends!

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  12. We used to stop there for lunch in the 70's when I drove truck in Edmonton for United Truck Terminal. A good meal for under $4.00 in those days. Beer was 15 cents a glass, and it was all draft.

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    1. Hi Owen, thanks for the comment, it's cool to hear about this place from people who know it. Pretty good deal for a meal and beer!

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  13. Nice find! All it needs is a hitchin' post out front.

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    1. LOL yeah they did not replace the hitchin' post during the renos!

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  14. Those were times!
    I love the verandah. So sad it´s closed!!
    We still can go out, but we both cough and sometimes my temps rise a tad too much to go out.
    I´m a tad concerned, but hope all is OK (you cannot get tested here).
    To health!

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    1. Hello Iris, I hope you are both ok! Why can't you be tested? Canada has been doing a lot of testing and essential businesses only are open.

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  15. It hasn't changed much at all since it was first built, they did a brilliant restoration. Is it being used for anything else at the moment Jenn? All good here in Perth, much like the rest of the world re restrictions.. let's hope it won't be too long before the world returns to normal.

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    1. Hi Grace, I believe it has sat empty for the last couple of years.
      I hope so too, might be a few more weeks.

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  16. WoW!!! this is a very cool old building, very old...it is nice to see pictures from way bay when!!!

    the hubs and i are surviving just fine, not too much has changed. we do what we do from home and we are use to being home a lot anyway. i miss our day trips....i miss having freedom to just go for a walk or bike ride. we are going to work in our yard tomorrow!! i miss a few things but would never complain. i know this is necessary and i really enjoy being home!!!!

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  17. I love the building, but to me it almost looks a little out of place there! I'm sure it has stories, and I'd love to hear them!!! :) We are doing very well, but Jenn, as you know, Alex and I are hermits so we aren't very affected by the stay at home order! It's just the upcoming move that is worrying me these days!

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