Alexandra Hotel – Water Street

We’re in Maple Tree Square, in Gastown, in 1907 – and in 2011 there’s Gassy Jack’s statue, but in 1907 there’s a spiffy new $45,000 hotel, the Alexandra. Parr and Fee designed it the year before, and it replaced a building less than 20 years old, the Sunnyside Hotel. The Sunnyside was one of the first buildings in Granville – built in 1875 before the town was renamed as Vancouver – and it sat on the water side of Water Street, so mostly on piles over the beach. It was right opposite (Gassy) Jack Deighton’s hostelry.

The original hotel burned with the rest of the city in 1886, but a new structure was quickly built to replace it and given the old name. It’s still listed in 1906, but in 1907 it’s replaced by the ‘Alexandria’ – corrected to Alexandra in subsequent years. Just 11 years later that’s gone too; in 1917 it’s still there – In 1918 the 2-storey extension to the 1911 Swift Meat Packing Company was built.

There’s no record of who designed it, but the 1911 4-storey (later 5-storey) structure to the west was designed by Swift Canadian Co and there’s no reason to suppose they needed anyone else to help design a 2-storey brick-faced box extension. (They obtained a permit in 1912, when it was going to cost $26,000 to build, but seem to have sat on it through the war years). More recently it’s been a restaurant and a furniture store, and is now awaiting a new tenant, but it’s a smaller and meaner building than the hotel that lasted only a few years on the site.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-577


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