The Interior

Grand Staircase

Inside the building is the magnificent grand staircase, composed of 39 steps in three flights of 13. The steps are brown-veined Carrara marble, reported to be the finest building marble in the world. On either side of the base of the steps are two life-size North American bison, symbolic of the herds that once roamed the prairies. They were modelled by Georges Gardet of Paris, creator of the Golden Boy. Cast at the Roman Bronze Works in New York City, each bison weighs 2,268 kilograms (2½ tons). An intriguing story surrounds the installation of these statues. It is said that in order to diminish the risk of scratching the building's exquisite marble floors with these massive sculptures, the entire main floor of the building was flooded with water, and then left to freeze solid. Both bison were then placed on enormous slabs of ice cut from the Assiniboine River, and safely slid into the building. Whether this tale is true may never be known. Such legends add to the storied nature of this historic building.

Hand railing Around the second floor balcony, lamps rise from the balustrades. Beneath the railings, cut stone panels resemble the Union Jack. The third floor facing the Grand Staircase is supported by two pairs of columns, reproductions of the caryatides found in the Porch of Maidens in the Erechtheum of Athens, Greece. The original figures date to 408 B.C. The figures located on the third floor were sculpted by the Piccirilli Brothers of New York, using models prepared by Albert Hodge of London, England.

Close up the hand railing on the staircase.