As many of you know, Zapwater has a booming hospitality practice and works with several hotels. The Hotel Sax is known for its trendy Crimson Lounge and Microsoft technology. The recently opened boutique hotel The Iron Horse is known for its cutting edge design and its motorcycle amenities. The Abbey Resort is an iconic hotel full of history.

Because our hotel roster of clients continues to grow, I love checking out other hotels, especially historic ones. Last night I stayed at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg.

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway built the Fort Garry Hotel in 1913 as luxury accommodation for its train passengers. The name came from Upper Fort Garry, which was next door to the hotel. Like the Canadian Pacific Hotels built across Canada, the Fort Garry Hotel was built in the chateau style of architecture with steep roofs, turrets and lavish ornamentation.

Famous guests over the years included Liberace, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, Arthur Fiedler, Lester Pearson and Gordie Howe. In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed at the Fort Garry Hotel during their tour of Canada.

But there was one famous guest that kept me awake most of the night. Many guests have seen figures of ghosts at the foot of the bed. Sometimes it’s a man and other times, it’s a woman dressed in a ball gown representative of the hotel’s early years.

Staying in room 203, I was a little freaked out!

Room 202 is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a woman who hung herself in the closet after she found out her husband was killed in a car accident. Guests have seen a woman dressed in a cloak or robe hovering at the end of the bed. Hotel maids have claimed to see blood seeping through the walls of the room.

The ghost of the same women has been seen crying in the corner of the hotel lounge after asking an employee for a glass of water.

The Fort Garry was an added twist to what certainly will be an adventure. I'm in Churchill and will begin posting pics tomorrow. Though I did see my first Polar Bear. It was running down the main street in Churchill being chased by the authorities. Local authorities maintain a so-called "polar bear jail" where bears (mostly adolescents) who persistently loiter in or too close to town, are held after being tranquillized, pending release back into the wild when the bay freezes over.

David Zapata