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Will Montreal Ever See Another Restaurant Like The Beaver Club?

Gone but not forgotten.

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Photo: Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

After more than half a century of service, the Beaver Club is no more. It was a muted death this past March for a restaurant once considered the crème de la crème of formal haute gastronomy in Montreal. A restaurant that fed the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Fidel Castro, Charles de Gaulle, Princess Grace, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and John Lennon - as well as ordinary Montrealers and out-of-towners of course.

While the news hardly comes as a surprise - the grand dame fell from grace long ago, despite recent boosterism from this celebrity chef - this statement by the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth may provoke a sentimental twinge of nostalgia.

In response to a growing demand for small private function rooms for high-end events, the management of Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth has decided to give a new vocation to its gourmet restaurant the Beaver Club.

The room will now be exclusively dedicated to private events and prestigious social gatherings such as weddings, cocktail dinner parties, fundraising soirées, gourmet cooking classes and winemakers' receptions.

The hotel wishes to preserve the history and notoriety of the Beaver Club and maintain its fine dining tradition by continuing to serve the finest local products. All artifacts and archival documents will be retained and featured in this unique venue.

The Beaver Club has always been an address for special occasions and the hotel will pursue this mission by giving it a new vocation to better meet the current needs of its customers.

Recognized as a Montréal culinary institution since 1958 and the oldest gastronomic club in Canada, The Beaver Club was a favorite of epicureans. Through the years, it earned prestigious distinctions such as the CAA Four Diamonds, the Dirona Award, the 4-Star Debeur Award and the Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.

By opening the doors of the Beaver Club to a broader clientele, the management of the hotel gives it a new impetus and revitalizes its offer to host social events and upscale private functions in a historical setting where culinary arts are celebrated.

A few old school standouts from the restaurant's last menu:

· Snails Flaky Pastry with a Garlic Flower and Riesling Wine Cream Sauce, Endives and Granny Smith Apples - 21.00
· Chateaubriand with Your Choice of Sauce: Béarnaise, Mushroom or Pepper - 44.00 per person
· Whole Dover Sole Meunière Style Served with a Vegetables Bouquetière - 58.00 per person

The closure of the Beaver Club coincides with a wholesale divestiture of hotels by behemoth Quebec investment fund Ivanhoé Cambridge. As a result, most of Canada's landmark railway hotels like The Empress and Château Laurier have been sold by the company or shortly will be.

Most, save for two: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City and Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth. The property management and development company recently sank a small fortune to upgrade the former, most notably in the restaurant and bar department. No such luck for the historic Montreal property, however.

· A New Vocation for the Beaver Club [Fairmont]
· New Owners for Some of Canada's Landmark Railway Hotels [NYT]
· All The Shutter Coverage [-EMTL-]

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