|Royal Hotel, c. 1910. Source|
“A good deal of mystery surrounds the affair.” - Saskatoon Phoenix, April 16, 1917
|Dr. Hamill and daughter Elsie, Colgate, 1913|
The alcohol part is a bit easier to figure out. Prohibition was in full force in Saskatchewan in 1917. The only way to acquire booze was from a bootlegger (who often spiked his brew with wood alcohol), or by a doctor's prescription. If a physician was an alcoholic, or if he was battling other demons, wood alcohol might have been tempting, but surely he would have had access to safer sources of liquor through his profession.
History of the Royal Hotel
|Postcard of the Royal Hotel, c. 1910. Source|
In 1912, the Royal Hotel’s future looked so bright that the McRoberts brothers, formerly of Moose Jaw, purchased it for the princely sum of $175,000. Source: Financial Post of Canada, November 30, 1912. The McRoberts had big plans for the Royal, only to have them dashed when Prohibition was introduced in 1915. When the Canada Census was taken in 1916, J. L. (Jerry) McRoberts and his wife Lucia (Lucy), ages 60 and 39 respectively, were living in the hotel along with their children Ruth (17) and Jerry Jr. (9). In spite of the devastating impact that Prohibition had on many Saskatchewan hotels, the Royal must have been doing alright, as, according to the census, it had fifteen staff members, including four chambermaids, two waitresses, two Chinese cooks, a waiter, a Japanese porter, two Japanese bell boys, a dishwasher, a cashier, and a bookkeeper.
|Royal Hotel, 1946. Everett Baker photo. Source|
The Mryglods spent a great deal of time and money renovating the Royal Hotel. In 1953, they completely remodeled the large lobby. The hotel was the largest in the city, with 100 rooms. In addition to hotel services, the Royal also housed 25 to 30 permanent residents in rooms and suites. A number of business places, including several oil exploration companies, had office space on the premises. Source
Fire of 1954
|Royal Hotel, 2006. Joan Champ photo|
© Joan Champ, 2014
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