Bed and breakfast travel is one of our favourite ways of discovering new places and the historic Twin Gables B&B is a real treat. It is a 4.5 star-rated bed and breakfast, located in the upscale Mount Royal neighbourhood in Calgary, which is about 25 minutes away by foot from downtown, and the restaurant area on 4th Street takes just a 10 minute to walk to. It was the perfect location for our Sneak Peek at Calgary and after a good night’s rest after our feast at Il Giardino’s last night, we enjoyed the comforts of our Mount Royal Suite, complete with its own sitting area, a private bathroom, an in-suite jacuzzi, a fireplace and a laptop computer with high-speed Internet access.
Our hostess Deirdre (right) with our tour guide Jocelyne (left) at the Twin Gables
Well, a good portion of the B&B experience is the breakfasting experience and boy, were we in for a treat. We were just waiting to sit down for our morning meal in the historic parlor, when the two other B&B guests came down the stairs: a good-looking couple about our age was about to join us for breakfast.
I thought the face of the young man looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. My husband, on the other hand, recognized him right away: Michael Damian , a.k.a. “Danny Romalotti” from the famous “The Young and The Restless” daytime television show.
Mike and Janeen Damian
I did some research on our famous breakfast companions and was rather astounded at their achievements. Not only did Michael star in the #1-rated daytime drama (with an audience of over 100 million around the world), he is also enjoying great success in music and theatre. He captured the starring role in Andrew Lloyd Webbers “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” which became the highest grossing revival in L.A. history. He then continued his success in New York, breaking box office records on Broadway. Michael has also released 5 albums and has had 8 top 40 hits and earned a BMI Songwriting Award. Recently Michael has moved into directing, writing and producing movies and music videos.
Mike’s wife Janeen (formerly Janeen Best) is a celebrity in her own right: she is a former Solid Gold dancer and her film credits include Basic Instinct, Bugsy, Earth Girls Are Easy, Footloose and many more. Her television credits include Solid Gold, the Academy Awards, American Music Awards, Grammy Awards, the Young and the Restless, Matlock, Fantasy Island, Love Boat, Johhny Carson, the Dukes of Hazard and many more. So, it finally dawned on me that we were indeed surrounded by stars.
Well, after I got over this initial surprise, the breakfast was excellent, we started off with a yoghurt with fresh fruits, followed by beautiful home-made blueberry scones. The main course was a delicious Western omelette with green peppers, onions and mushrooms. The meal was delicious and we had a great conversation with our famous breakfast companions.
Mike and Janeen shared with us that they were in town to scout out a location for their upcoming movie project and they were staying at the Twin Gables for a few days. They mentioned that they launched a movie production company called Riviera Films a few years ago, and that they enjoy a great collaboration writing, producing and directing movies. Their latest project “Hot Tamale” was recently completed and will be premiering shortly at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
View from the rooftop room at the Twin Gables
For a moment it felt a bit strange, sharing the breakfast table with real celebrities, but Mike and Janeen were so natural and down-to-earth, it was like sitting down with a regular couple from next door. There was not even a hint of snobbishness or arrogance here and all four of us had a delightful conversation.
For me it was very interesting because I myself have been making a transition into the creative / media field with my website, so it was very informative for me to listen to Mike and Janeen share their own stories of moving from acting in front in front of the camera to stepping behind the camera into directing and producing movie projects, a field where they had to prove themselves all over again. We also shared lots of laughs and parted, wishing each other good luck for our respective projects. Our encounter goes to show you that some of the stereotypes that we associate with celebrities often don’t apply and that fame doesn’t automatically inflate people’s egos. It was a real delight meeting Michael and Janeen, two successful, creative and down-to-earth people.
After breakfast I wanted to sit down a little with Deirdre and Henry Brost, the owners of the Twin Gables, to find out more about the background of this historic home and how it came to be this special bed and breakfast. Deirdre explained that in 1909 there was a big boom in Calgary and CP Rail owned all the land in the neighbourhood and decided to sell it off in lots. American investors wanted to call it American Hills, but CPR’s founder would not allow that. He decided to name the area Mount Royal, in keeping with making it the most exclusive area in Calgary.
A cozy retreat under the rafters – the Skyline Suite
The house itself was built between 1910 and 1912 by a lawyer, a certain Mr. Milliken, who had come to Calgary from Toronto. Due to the economic crisis following the 1929 stock market crash he lost the house to the bank in 1931 and a certain Wellington Walker, an entrepreneur also from Toronto, bought it in 1932 for $10,500. He was involved in the coal and cattle business and owned several sign shops. In 1965, at 91 years of age, he willed the house to his caregiver who turned it into a lodging house after his death. After she passed away in 1972 it remained a rooming house and slowly started to fall in disrepair.
Our Mount Royal Suite