Victorian Hotel Built in 1893 with Contemporary Art Space
Since its construction in 1893, The Walper Hotel has counted many larger-than-life figures as clientele: Eleanor Roosevelt enjoyed breakfast in the landscaped courtyard, and Louis Armstrong once played his trumpet off the King Street balcony. Part of the A-list appeal of the hotel could be traced to its passion for the arts—a curated collection of contemporary paintings and photographs are displayed throughout the hotel. There’s also a glamorous interior befitting such celebrity royalty, including a crystal ballroom illuminated by 12 chandeliers and a baroque-style dining room.
The Walper Hotel showcases the original work of more than a dozen Canadian artists in spaces such as the lobby and guest rooms curated by Caviar20. The 80-piece collection—which offers all artwork for sale—includes contemporary moose graphics from Charles Pachter and haunting photographs from Nelson French's Shade series. To keep the whole family occupied, the educational center TheMuseum is located just across the street. Here, kids can peer through a 125-gallon fish tank or lay down blueprints for their dream treehouse in Construction Alley, an interactive building exhibit.
Back at the hotel, newly renovated Landmark rooms and suites feature high ceilings and period furniture mixed amid contemporary upgrades such as original artwork and flat-screen TVs. Large windows let in abundant natural light. Come morning, the farmers’ market offers a seasonally rotating menu of breakfast foods.
Kitchener, Ontario: European Heritage on Display Throughout Museums and City Parks
Situated on the Grand River in southwest Ontario, Kitchener is the cultural hub of the Waterloo Region. In 1800, German Mennonites journeyed from Pennsylvania to settle in this farming region, known as Berlin, between 1854 and 1916. In honor of its German roots, the city hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration. It draws 700,000 visitors, making it the largest Bavarian festival in the world outside of Germany. Five miles from the hotel, Doon Heritage Village simulates life in Berlin in 1914, and just around the corner, the Joseph Schneider Haus preserves artifacts from the Germanic settlement.
More than 30 miles (100 km) of walking and biking trails traverse the riverfront landscape around Kitchener, and playgrounds and toboggan hills line its 220 city parks. One of the most popular of these parks is Victoria Park, which was built in 1896 by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted. It’s centered on a massive clock tower salvaged from old city hall as well as a cast bronze statue of Queen Victoria and a lifelike replica of her royal tinfoil crown.
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