Toronto’s historic Royal York hotel is up for sale, along with the Hotel Vancouver in downtown Vancouver.
Both hotels are owned by the real estate arm of the massive Quebec pension fund, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
Company spokesman Sébastien Théberge confirmed Friday that the historic properties are being sold off after being identified as part of the fund’s “nonstrategic asset class.”
The asking price for the properties has not yet been disclosed.
Over the past few years, the pension plan has scaled down from ownership of 70 hotels to fewer than a dozen.
Among the hotels already sold by the pension fund are Ottawa’s Fairmont Château Laurier, which was opened half a block from Parliament Hill in 1912 by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s seventh Prime Minister.
It was sold last year to an affiliate of Vancouver’s Larco Investments.
Among the hotels the fund still retains are the Château Frontenac in Quebec City and Queen Elizabeth in downtown Montreal.
The Royal York was hailed as the tallest building in the Commonwealth when it opened in 1929 and early guests included Winston Churchill, who visited Toronto in 1932 as part of a North American speaking tour.
Recent guests have included former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and the Dalai Lama.
Queen Elizabeth has stayed at both the Royal York and Hotel Vancouver.
The Royal York has been used in the making of some 20 movies, including Cinderella Man (2005), The Killing Fields (1984) and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2006).
Prestige hotels have stood at the site on northeast corner of Front and York Sts. since train service began nearby in 1853.
It was a fashionable Toronto spot at the end of the 19th century. Guests of the Queen’s Hotel included King Edward VII, Sir John A. Macdonald and Civil War Confederate leader Jefferson Davis.
The Hotel Vancouver was the tallest building in Vancouver when it opened in 1939.
It was completed with public funds at the end of the Great Depression in an effort to provide jobs and boost the local economy.
It served as home of the CBC’s Vancouver bureau until 1975.
Some believe it still houses the ghost of former guest Jennie Pearl Cox, who died in 1944. A cocktail was named in her honour after her passing.