The Royal George, 95 College Street, c. 1906

The Royal George has long been a popular Antigonish landmark. It was built in 1906 by C.E. Gregory, a local barrister and son of C.C. Gregory, a prominent engineer and barrister who lived at "Fernwood", now known as Mount Cameron. The building was designed by William Critchlow Harris, an Island architect with a flair for the fanciful. The 3-4 storey building with its flat roof, enclosed 2-storey verandah, hexagonal tower-shaped gazebo and crenellated parapet, a fashionable Tudor-Revival feature, had a castle-like appearance.

In 1915, the Royal George boasted many of the conveniences of a 1st class commercial hotel and restaurant. It had steam heat, electrical fixtures and telephone service. The first floor contained a lounging and writing room, and a dining room which seated about sixty guests. On the second floor, there was a parlor and forty two furnished bedrooms with running cold and hot water; some of the rooms had private baths and fireplaces.

The Royal George has gone through many hands and incarnations. Many of its medieval architectural details have been stripped away. In 1908, the Hotel was sold to one-time proprietor of the Queen Hotel, James Broadfoot; five years later ownership was transferred to John Kennedy and R.K. MacDonald. Presently the building is owned by the Antigonish Development Corporation and has been used primarily for office space since 1986. The Royal George enjoys the distinction of being the only surviving example of Harris's hotel designs.

Daniel Jankowski

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