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A fond farewell: Owner of storied St. Louis hotel pays tribute to Ralph Klein

CALGARY- The former owner of Calgary’s storied St. Louis Hotel returned to his old stomping grounds on Wednesday, to pay his respects to former Alberta premier Ralph Klein.

Morris Blitt owned the hotel, which stands in the East Village. It was made famous by the man many called King Ralph, who made the decision to join the political world while at the St. Louis.

“As good as he was for our business, we ended up being pretty good for his business,” says Blitt. “He was able to publicly display his personality.”

Klein’s final day as premier was celebrated at the tavern, which then closed its doors for good.

“When he retired that day, we closed the bar and presented him with his chair. I don’t know what he ever did with that chair…but it was his chair.”

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The St. Louis now being renovated and is considered a historical property.

“It requires some tender, loving care,” says Susan Veres from Calgary Municipal Land Corporation. “It’s 100 years old next year, and it’s our vision that these historical buildings add a lot of character to the [East] Village.”

Blitt says he hopes something of the hotel’s history with the Klein can be preserved.

“He will always be with me. Just my memories with him, and my family, it’s emotional.”

A celebration of life will be held for Klein on Friday, at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in downtown Calgary. Global News will live stream the service on our website.