Royal Alexandra Hall, 1906

Of all the relocated heritage structures in Cranbrook, the Royal Alexandra Hall has moved the farthest.

 The hall was originally the Grand Cafe of the Royal Alexandra Hotel, built in Winnipeg in 1906 as part of the CPR hotel chain. The hotel was demolished in 1971 but for some reason, the cafe -- with its massive carved oak fireplace, and its forged iron chandeliers (each weighing almost as much as a small car) -- was spared. It was dismantled into hundreds of pieces and stored in a semi-trailer on Vancouver Island. 

In 1991, then- railway museum executive director Garry Anderson (OC) discovered this neglected treasure and the vision for the current home of the Cranbrook History Centre was born. "It was too beautiful to throw away," said Anderson. "It was an architectural icon and we needed a home." More than $150,000 was raised through grants and donations to purchase the cafe pieces. They were stored in the freight shed before reassembly. 

By 2004, the rebuilt cafe was opened to the public as the spectacular Royal Alexandra Hall: meeting space, archive, performance space and the heart of operations for the one-of-a-kind rail car museum collection.