The 100-year-old Thurston Hotel is located on Main Street in Harmony, Alberta, Canada.
It’s a fictional name for a little town (population 12,000 permanent residents) nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, just outside the gates of Banff National Park. You get there by travelling west from Calgary on the Trans-Canada and it takes about an hour.
No, Harmony is not really Canmore, Alberta . . . but that’s what I think of when I think of Harmony.
The town hosts tourists from everywhere in all seasons of the year, but there are two high seasons: summer and winter. In summer, tourists come to hike or mountain bike or raft down the Kananaskis River. In winter, they come for the skiing and boarding in the Canadian Rockies at Lake Louise or Sunshine or Norquay.
The Thurston Hotel is made of sandstone brick and it’s six stories tall with an impressive entrance. The expansive steps are flanked by black lampposts each with five white globes. Over top of the gabled portico are the three flags representing Canada, the USA and the Province of Alberta.
The hotel was built by Thomas Thurston
and opened in 1916 when he was only twenty-one years old. He didn’t get married until much later. On January 20th 1938, he married Margaret Thurston when he was forty-three years old and she was twenty-eight.
The hotel’s Thomas Lounge pays tribute to the founder, and the Margaret Library is named after his wife.
The couple had four children: three sons and a daughter. Only the daughter, Emily, is still living.
Emily Thurston Jamieson managed the hotel until last August.
Two of Emily’s brothers were childless, but her brother George had three children: Wendy (40), Bailey (35) and Benjamin (30). Ben studied hotel management at the University of Calgary and studied even harder under his Aunt Emily’s tutelage to finally become the Assistant General Manager.
His older sister Bailey is Chief Financial Officer, and his oldest sister Wendy holds the position of Events Manager.
As I said, Emily Thurston Jamieson managed the hotel until last August—when she had a heart attack. She recovered nicely, and decided to turn over management of the hotel to her nephew, Ben.
Rumor has it that his older sisters didn’t particularly like that decision, but then they have always given their little brother a hard time.
And speaking of rumors, there’s also a rumor that the hotel has a ghost. Of course, it’s a silly notion, since we all know ghosts don’t exist.
Have you ever stayed at a quaint old hotel? Have you ever worked in one? Did you like the ambience there? Did you ever meet any ghosts?
The Thurston Hotel Books are standalone contemporary romances connected by common settings, characters and events. To see all the covers, meet the authors, read the blurbs, and see a map of Harmony, go to: www.ThurstonHotelBooks.com.
I’ve stayed at the Empress in Victoria, British Columbia. Definitely old, and definitely quaint!! I imagine it’s much bigger than your Thurston Hotel. Looking forward to the series. And no, I didn’t see any ghosts at the Empress but maybe they were just hiding.
Hi Hanna! I’ve been to the Empress too. It’s a beautiful hotel, very much like the Thurston, only, you’re right, the Thurston is smaller. And I didn’t see any ghosts at the Empress either. 🙂
Love the post. Too bad you can’t book a night at the Thurston. Would love to tip one back in the Thomas Lounge.
We should all head over to the Oak Room at the Palliser – since that is the inspiration for the Thomas Lounge!
I have stayed at the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. It is very old and majestic with marble staircases, breathtaking views, and yes, ghosts. I did not see any but there are rumours of several: a young bride who tripped on her gown and fell down the stairs, breaking her neck, a longtime bellhop who threatened to return after his death, and a murdered child from the missing room 873.
I’m so looking forward to reading my fellow author’s contributions to the Thurston series.
I would absolutely LOVE to stay there! I’ve heard that place even has “ghost tours”. Definitely want to do that one day…