Our History

(historical hotel illustration) The Marlborough Hotel opened its doors on November 14, 1914, on the eve of the First World War. Originally named The Olympia, and described as “The Miniature Hotel Deluxe of Canada”, it was located, as it is today, at the very centre of Winnipeg.

For their inspiration, the architect and designers had looked to the Gothic school of Medieval England, with just enough Renaissance influence to provide the elegance common to the luxury hotels of the era. The result was, and is, one of Winnipeg’s most important heritage buildings. An elaborate Late Gothic Revival-style exterior façade in terra cotta and brick with a polished granite base also features a massive ornate cast iron marquee sheltering the street level Main Entrance. The interior Lobby Level restaurant and bar features some of the most beautiful Gothic and Renaissance-influenced interiors in Canada. Soaring 24’ ceilings, imported English stained glass, hand-wrought iron light fixtures by Tiffany of New York, ornate plaster friezes, carved heavy oaken beams and walnut wainscoting created delightful settings. Constructed in concrete and steel, The Olympia was considered Canada’s first ‘fireproof’ hotel, and was one of the first buildings in the nation with a fire sprinkler system.

The original 4-storey structure had been designed ready to support an increase in rooms, and by 1920 demand exceeded the supply. So in 1923, a $400,000 five-story addition was completed. Historic Marlborough Hall, the stately ballroom with a dramatic 8th floor perspective on Winnipeg’s famous Portage & Main intersection, sits atop this addition.

In 1924 the now nine-storey structure was purchased by a group of Winnipeg businessmen and, in an era when Canada was still a proud part of the British Empire, the hotel was re-christened The Marlborough, after England’s great 18th century military leader, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

Sir Winston Churchill

Among The Marlborough’s many celebrity guests over the years, certainly none is more famous than Sir Winston Churchill. A grandson of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, Churchill in 1925 visited the hotel named for his illustrious ancestor. The hotel Dining Room was later named Churchill’s in honour of his visit.

The Royal Canadian Legion

In November 1925, representatives of veterans’ organizations from across Canada assembled at The Marlborough for a Unity Conference, the national founding meeting of the Royal Canadian Legion. A plaque prominently located in the Lobby commemorates this important national event.

In 1960 a new wing was added, extending the hotel north to Ellice Avenue. The crowning jewel of this project - the spectacular 8th Floor Skyview Ballroom – was the largest hotel ballroom between Toronto and Vancouver, and is still the largest in Downtown Winnipeg. The opening gala, starring “Canada’s Pet – Juliette” and attended by Winnipeg’s elite, was a highlight of the social year.

In 2004, a two million dollar expansion and renovation was completed. Seven one-bedroom suites and one executive boardroom suite were created along with a partial refurbishment of the guest rooms and many more physical and cosmetic upgrades throughout the facility. In addition, Downtown Winnipeg's first pool, waterslide and spa tub facility was added, with an enclosed link joining the historic Garrick Theatre to The Marlborough, bringing our total meeting, banquet and conference space to 40,000 square feet.

The Marlborough became a proud member of the WORLDHOTELS family in September of 2006. With more than 520 independent hotels in over 300 destinations throughout 70 countries around the globe, WORLDHOTELS is dedicated to ‘Bringing Unique Hotels and People Together’.

We invite you to enjoy the warm, welcoming and well-priced ambience of our unique historic hotel.

Welcome to Winnipeg. Welcome to the The Marlborough Hotel.

Member of World Hotels