The vine-covered Fairmont Empress is the famous showpiece of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The four-star property is ideally located along the waterfront on Government Street. It greets visitors arriving by boat or seaplane and beckons them for Victorian afternoon tea. The Empress was commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and opened in 1908. This was during the era – from the late 19th century until the 1930s – when Canadian railway companies competed by building majestic hotels across the country. The Fairmont Empress is considered one of the best examples of Châteauesque architecture. It was designed by Francis Rattenbury. He also designed the nearby British Columbia Parliament Buildings.