West Cordova and Abbott (and Woodwards)

We’ve already referenced the Wilson Block on the corner, owned by real estate broker W B Wilson. He had a series of important tenants including Rand Bros real estate (who initially set the development of the Alhambra Hotel going before George Byrnes took it on), a barrister, D S Wallbridge and the Vancouver Gas Co (C D Rand secretary-treasurer). The building behind it, up Abbott Street is the first Metropole Hotel, built in 1892 to N S Hoffar’s design. For 1894 and 1895 there’s an odd Directory entry “Hotel Metropole vacant” but by 1898 Hodson and Dempsey are proprietors, and in 1900 when this photograph was taken William Hodson is the proprietor, and George Parker is the Manager. By 1904 Woodward’s Department store had been established on the vacant lot on the corner of West Hastings, next to the Hotel Metropole (now owned by Atkins and Johnson) . The Hotel remained until 1924 when Woodwards expanded southward, and the Metropole name transferred to an existing hotel, the Travellers Hotel on the opposite side of the street. W T Whiteway designed the 1903 4-storey building, and Smith and Goodfellow the vertical expansion of Woodwards in 1910. Today’s heritage restoration was designed by Henriquez Partners as well as the 32 storey tower on the corner.

Here’s a shot dated to 1908 that shows the 1903 store with its new addition on the Abbott and West Hastings corner and the restored (and seismically rebuilt) Woodwards building, now used as offices and a childcare. The Metropole Hotel can be seen a bit further down Abbott Street. As the addition by Smith and Goodfellow wasn’t added until 1910, the image must really date from at least then.

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