Burrard Hotel – West Cordova and Homer

Burrard Hotel new

The Burrard Hotel was announced in the Contract Record in 1905 as being built on the corner of Homer and Cordova. A year later the Cosmopolitan Hotel was recorded in the Street Directory as being on the same corner site – in 1907 the address disappears, and only in 1908 does the Burrard Hotel finally get a mention. The odd thing is that until 1906 (when the site was listed as vacant) there was a Cosmopolitan Hotel at 101 West Cordova.

Mr David Gibb and his son built the hotel – the architects were Dalton and Eveleigh, and the Gibbs spent $16,000 on the site (according to a report in the Province newspaper in October 1905) and $25,000 on building the hotel. The report said they had already commenced construction of a three storey cut sandstone 40 room hotel. The newspaper report also explained how the site had previously been owned by Mr W J Van Houten and his associates who had previously planned a hotel deal with another party which had fallen through.

In 1910 the owners were Robert Atkins and Andrew Johnson. They ran a cartage business in the 1890s, sold up and built the Pacific Transfer Co warehouse on East Cordova in 1903, and owned two other hotels before the Burrard. In 1912 Andy Johnson had a $5,000 permit to alter the hotel with Tolman & Co as the architect/builders. Tolman & Co were builders rather than architects; they also built Israel Powell’s Ashnola Apartments on Main Street at East 6th Avenue. At some point the building had a fourth floor added – perhaps that was the work Mr. Johnson commissioned.

By 1919 the owner was Neil Cummins, who lived in New Westminster. The hotel had already transitioned in part to residential use; an auto salvage worker, a bartender at the Rainier Hotel, a carpenter and a clerk all listed the hotel as their residence. Three years later only the owners, Mr Cummins, and his partner Frank Vinnicombe were listed as living at the hotel.

Our picture shows the hotel in 1933 – it seems to have been demolished in the early 1940s. The last directory entry is in 1940, when for some reason the address switched to Homer Street. In 1941 the hotel name lives on, but attached to a property on the 700 block of Richards Street. The site became a parking lot until the construction of the parkade that’s still there in 1954, which gained an extra two floors in 1978 when it was linked to the Harbour Centre redevelopment. The parkade structure on the other end of the block is older, dating back to 1933.

Picture source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4408, Province newspaper extract from Heritage Vancouver.


Posted 22 October 2012 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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