Hotel Europe (1)

The Hotel Europe is one of the city’s most identifiable, and appreciated, buildings. It is undoubtedly the best flatiron building in the city, taking advantage of the meeting of two streets meeting at a sharp angle to create a building with a beautifully curved prow. The man who commissioned the building was hotelier Angelo Calori, who arrived from Italy in Victoria in 1882, and settled in Vancouver in 1886. The building in this postcard image from around 1909, (the year it was completed), is an addition to the original hotel which lies to the east – and is bigger than the first hotel which dates back to 1889 (which Calori owned from at least 1902).

Designed by Parr and Fee (probably Vancouver’s most prolific architects), it displays almost none of their trademark design elements. Instead it borrows from Daniel Burnham’s Flatiron Building in Manhattan, completed in 1902. This is particularly true in the twin column window design on the ‘point’ of the building. It was built by the Ferro-Concrete Construction Company who were brought in from Cincinnati. They had built the first tall reinforced concrete building in 1902, and the hotel is among the first reinforced concrete buildings in the city (and possibly the oldest). There is an earlier design suggest an even more dramatic building – two storeys higher and with a rash of bay windows. The current version is probably more elegant, and practical from a maintainance perspective. It’s quite a bit bigger than the first idea; in 1905 it was reported that “A. Calori, proprietor of the Europe Hotel, has purchased the five fractional lots which comprise the gore at the junction of Powell and Alexander streets and having a frontage of 125 feet on each of the streets mentioned. Mr. Calori intends building on the property a large four-storey tourist hotel, containing elevators and modern equipment.”

Calori developed houses in the East End not long after his arrival in the city and also appears to have owned the Princess Theatre on East Hastings Street in 1910. These days the hotel and its older ‘annex’ provides 84 units of non-market housing.



Posted 15 January 2012 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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