More than 35 years ago, John Lennon and
Yoko Ono took to bed at the Queen Elizabeth in Montreal to promote
peace in a time of war. The hotel continues to honor the event that
came to be known as the Bed-In for Peace through the Give Peace a
Chance package, which is built around a nostalgic stay in Suite
1742, where it all happened.
more than two months and fresh off a honeymoon that included their
momentous first Bed-In in Amsterdam, John and Yoko arrived in
Montreal the night of May 26, 1969, and checked into the hotel, in
those days a Hilton and today a Fairmont. Their stay turned out to
be a weeklong rendezvous that quickly turned into a marathon
international press conference, shout-out and singalong.
Each day, as fans
stood vigil outside the hotel, as many as 150 journalists ventured
up to the suite to interview the couple, who played out their
protest against the Vietnam War as part performance art, part
guerilla theater, part in-your-face political expression and part
The whole world,
by way of radio, television and print, paid rapt attention to the
controversial couple and what they were saying, which was "give
peace a chance."
"They stayed in
their pajamas -- they changed them a few times, of course -- took
out all the furniture, put a mattress on the floor and remained in
bed for seven days," a hotel spokeswoman said. "The room was empty
except for the bed and a few chairs.
"They got their
meals from room service, including a beverage called Spanish
Smiles -- orange juice with honey -- as
well as turtle soup and fried natural brown rice."
On June 1, Lennon
converted the digs into a makeshift recording studio and recorded
the classic "Give Peace a Chance," to the accompaniment of a
disparate amen chorus comprised of, among others, LSD guru Timothy
Leary; pop singer Petula Clark, of "Downtown" fame; comedians Tommy
Smothers and Dick Gregory; Beat poet Allen Ginsberg; and members of
the Canadian Radha Krishna Temple.
According to the
spokeswoman, the John Lennon Suite, as it is called these days,
will be renovated in 2007.
"The design is
not confirmed yet, but one of the concepts we are discussing is to
put it back as it originally was," she said. "For now, the room
decor features a display of John and Yoko photos from the Bed-In,
articles about the Bed-In, mounted gold records of 'Give Peace a
Chance' and a framed copy of John Lennon's hand-scrawled
The highlight of
the Give Peace a Chance package, of course, is a one-night stay in
the three-room (two bedrooms, two marble baths) John Lennon
"That suite is
our most popular one," the spokeswoman said. "It is used by couples
for romantic getaways; Beatles and Lennon fans; and corporations
that host small parties with a Beatles theme."
The Give Peace a
Chance package includes souvenir pajamas similar to the ones worn
by the couple, a bouquet of white flowers, a signature tea box with
English jams, personalized souvenir menus, full breakfast and
dinner, two CD recordings of the Bed-In, a framed Bed-In photograph
of John and Yoko, a calligraphy copy of the lyrics of "Give Peace a
Chance" and a limousine transfer from the airport.
The cost of the
plan is $1,700 (or $1,969 Canadian, in honor of the year 1969).
Taxes and service charges are included.
version of the package, the John & Yoko Getaway, is a one-night
deal that includes accommodations in the suite and breakfast in bed
for two. The rate for the Getaway ranges from $520 to
Cooking up a stay
miles or so to the west, sister Fairmont property the Royal York in
Toronto offers an intriguing package for food lovers.
executive chef, David Garcelon, accompanies guests on a
food-shopping excursion to the nearby St. Lawrence Market. There
awaits a bustling mini-universe of butchers, cheese shops, produce
stands and fish mongers. That evening, Garcelon hosts a six-course
menu in Epic, the hotel's AAA Four Diamond restaurant.
At the market,
participants in the Shop With Chef package stop at stalls such as
Mike's Seafood, for a lesson in properly selecting fresh fish;
Golden Orchard Fine Foods, to sample fresh-picked fruit from the
Niagara region; and Alex Graziano's, where organic produce is the
specialty of the house.
The market tour
continues when Garcelon leads the group to the Carousel Bakery for
a typical Toronto lunch of peameal bacon sandwiches.
The bacon is
actually pork taken from the leanest portion of the loin, cured in
sweet pickle and then rolled in cornmeal; it used to be rolled in a
ground, yellow pea mixture, hence the name "peameal."
The Shop With
Chef package, which includes a one-hour walking tour of the St.
Lawrence Market area conducted by Toronto historian and raconteur
Bruce Bell, completes its quest for the gourmet grail that evening
with the dinner for two at Epic.
The package costs
about $525, based on two nights' accommodation and double
occupancy, on Fridays and Saturdays.
information on the Give Peace a Chance and Shop With Chef packages,
go to www.fairmont.com.
To contact reporter Joe Rosen, send e-mail to [email protected].