Our Missing Hotel Vancouver—What were we thinking? (1916-1949)

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When the second Hotel Vancouver opened its doors 100 years ago this year, it became one of the most elegant and ornate buildings that we ever destroyed.

Second Hotel Vancouver at Georgia and Granville Streets
CVA 371-884 ca.1920 shown next to what’s now the Vancouver Art Gallery. For high res see: Second Hotel Vancouver

Built in 1916 and pulled down just 33 years later to make way for a parking lot, the second Hotel Vancouver was  a replacement for the original Hotel Vancouver which was built in 1888.

Corner Georgia and Granville Streets
First Hotel Vancouver, CVA Hot N53 , 1898 Granville and Georgia Streets

The new 16-storey version had 700 rooms and was designed in the grand Italianate revival style. The hotel had arched windows, turrets, a roof top garden, and was dressed up with Gargoyles, buffalo heads and terra cotta moose.

Second Hotel Vancouver
CVA Pan N120A, 1916 For high res see: Rooftop deck

At the end of the Second World War, homeless veterans took over the hotel, and it became an official barracks for a short time before its demise in 1949 at the tender young age of 33. And, after two decades as a parking lot, the site became home to the uninspiring Pacific Centre mall and the 30-storey black TD Tower which opened in 1972.

second-hotel-vancouver-today

Interesting how this clip of the site today from Google Maps catches the reflection of the beautiful, but much less lavish and impressive third Hotel Vancouver in its black glass.

The third Hotel Vancouver, a still good-looking and regal 77 has managed to outlive its earlier incarnations by decades. The first Hotel Vancouver did not live to see her 30th birthday while the second was only 33 when she was torn from the streetscape.
The third Hotel Vancouver, a still good-looking and regal 77 has managed to outlive its earlier incarnations by decades.

For more in Our Missing Heritage Series see:

Our Missing Heritage (part one) The Georgia Medical & Dental Building and the Devonshire Hotel

Our Missing West Coast Modern Heritage (Part two)

Our Missing Heritage (part three) The Empress Theatre

Our Missing Heritage (part four) The Strand Theatre, Birks Building and the second Hotel Vancouver

Our Missing Heritage (part five) The Hastings Street Theatre District

Our Missing Heritage (part six)

Our Missing Heritage (part seven)

Our Missing Heritage (part eight) 

or just go to Our Missing Heritage for the complete, sad list.

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.

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4 comments

  1. My only comment would be that the ” homeless vets” also had their new brides and children with them at the Vancouver hotel. They went to war as very young people…some were teenagers and they came home with wives and children and the govt had made no long term provisions for them. The govt finally had homes built for them and they could rent them at very low rent such as the large subdivision at Grandview highway and boundary road. Every home was home to a veteran and their children. I am one of those children. A memorial plaque sits at Falaise Park commemorating our parents.

  2. This is my absolute favourite Vancouver building and I’ve never seen it in person before. The app ‘Circa 1948’ does a great job of showing what kind of lives and stories existed inside before it was destroyed. I’m also proud to say I own the key to room 227A, as well as an inter phone that was believed to be used in the hotel as well.

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