Same name 110 years later

The Alexandra Hotel was built in 1907, and is one of the few buildings to still have its original name passed on through different owners. In A family account written by Julius Herman Schmidt, He writes about his mother’s (Anne Huston) two brothers who built the Alexandra Hotel, “Two boys came west to Virden about 1890, farmed for a time three miles south of Virden, eventually buying a hotel and livery barn called the Victoria House. Later they owned the Balmoral Hotel, and eventually built the present Alexandra Hotel which is still in use.”

At the time of World War I, the Alexandra Hotel was built on the corner lot of Nelson St. and Sixth Ave. It is one of Virden’s most visible and enduring buildings. It is three stories high, with original cast iron radiators, and stairway with engraved railings.

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The outside of the Alexandra Hotel is characterized by peaked and round-arched jutting windows, a small round-arched window on the Nelson Ave entrance,  and built of brick and has rusticated stone sills. Examples of Second Empire architecture, such as the Alexandra Hotel, are few and far between today.

Owners since 2010, Kim and Gord Halowaty, have made many improvements to the hotel. Old buildings are unique and full of character, but require much upkeep and renovating. As they continue to renovate they make every effort to keep the original look and architecture of the building.

Most recently, a new roof was put on the Alexandra Hotel in the summer of 2016. Before that, a major undertaking was installing 32 new windows, on the second and third floors. In the bar, new flooring and painting was done when they first purchased the hotel, as well as extending the serving bar.

The hotel houses a small restaurant which was renovated in the summer of 2016. Due to a lack of staff, the restaurant has not yet been opened.

The second floor hosts 10 bedroom suites, recently painted, with new flooring, and plumbing for extended renting. The third floor, with a four bedroom suite is presently under renovation.

Since the Halowatys took over the Alexandra Hotel, they have made long-term connections with many people. Gord says, “You don’t realize how you affect a person when you lend them a helping hand.”

He recalls taking his vehicle to the Sparwood garage in town, and he met a band that was travelling through Virden. Their vehicle had mechanical problems, and they asked him about a rental vehicle. Gord assisted them with their request, however the band was unable to get a rental vehicle that night. The band came back to the Alexandra, stayed the night, and played music in the bar. The lead singer of the band was Jason Kirkness, now popular, and playing venues like Dauphin Festival this year; which he invited the Halowaty’s to this summer.

The Alexandra Hotel, like many of the businesses in town, supports its community with numerous, sponsorships and donations such as: different golf course donations, Virden Pet Network, the advertising program with the Oil Caps, the yearly rodeo and demo derby and more.

Alexandra Hotel, on corner of Nelson St. and sixth ave., back in it’s older days.

 Kim and Gord Halowaty, owners of Alexandra Hotel, under the new rain shelter on the outdoor deck.

 Original staircase railing, 110 years old, at the Alexandra Hotel in Virden.

© Virden Empire-Advance