“Go with the crowd – a warm welcome always awaits you at the Rainier Hotel. Where all the Oldtimers meet and strangers feel at home. Look for the Big Friendly Neon Sign”. The 1936 advertising slogan came true again in 2010 with a new Big Friendly Neon Sign, financially supported by the City of Vancouver, being installed on one of the Single Room Occupancy Hotels (in this case for women) purchased and rehabbed by BC Housing, the provincial housing agency.
The Rainier, at the corner of Carrall and Cordova, dates back to 1907 and was designed by Emil Guenther for John Quann, who also owned the Rose Theatre on Hastings Street, and the Balmoral Hotel that was demolished to make way for the Rainier. In 1920 when this image was taken the Hotel was owned by Jack West and the Rainier ran a taxicab fleet and had a cafe, barbers shop and billiard room. The recent refurb supervised by architect Barry McGinn saw eight layers of paint removed from the brickwork, repointing of the walls and construction of 170 feet of recreated shopfronts.