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Empire was Timmins’ ‘lah-dee-dah’ hotel

Our weekly examination of Timmins history goes to another hotel this week.

The Empire Hotel building still stands at the corner of Spruce St. and Algonquin Blvd.

Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann says it was built by Leo Mascioli, for direct competition with the Goldfields Hotel a block west.

“By 1928 when he built that,” she explains, “the Goldfields was kind of waning a bit and was not the chichi place it used to be. So the Empire took over and was the lah-dee-dah hotel of Timmins.”

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The Empire featured dining rooms, lounges and beautiful rooms.  Bachmann says one expansion resulted in the Fountain Court Lounge, built around a fountain. About 38 years later, it took on a very important role.

“That was the headquarter hotel, if you want to put it that way, when the Kidd discovery was made, home to a lot of prospectors and a lot of speculators who came into town to deal with that.”

At the height of the Thomson media involvement in town, it was also the favourite watering hole for employees like Ken Thomson and Peter Gzowski.

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