The Hotel Europe is one of the city’s most identifiable, and appreciated, buildings. It is undoubtedly the best flatiron buildings 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 the image from 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 trademarks. 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). The initial designs suggest an even more dramatic design – two storeys higher and with a rash of bay windows. The current version is probably more elegant, and practical from a maintainance perspective. 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.