Westminster Avenue – 1000 block

1000 block Main

We’re not completely sure when the Bridge Hotel was built, or who designed it. It was at 796 Westminster Avenue just before the bridge that headed south over False Creek, and John Austin was running it in 1888 and in 1889 he was running it as well as the Stewart House on Water Street. In 1907 the Bridge Hotel was listed at 1080 Westminster Avenue (following a comprehensive renumbering of the street) and was run by Cunningham & Chapman; Samuel G Cunningham and Alvin Chapman. In 1908 it was renamed as the Globe Hotel, although Cunningham and Chapman still owned it. We think they added an extra floor that year – which is why the third floor cornice carried the 1908 date. (The 1903 Insurance Map shows it having only 2 storeys).

In 1910 when our photograph was taken the five storey the VanDecar Hotel had appeared in the directory for the first time a little further to the north at 1038 Westminster Avenue. The plans  for the building were probably drawn up in 1908, and the architect was apparently John S Taylor. He was a Scot who arrived in Canada in 1905, aged 20, and worked in the CPR Offices until 1907, when he set up his architect’s office. The hotel is the earliest design we know to be associated with his work in Vancouver – he would have been only 23 when it was designed.

 The directory shows that in 1910 there were a number of residents living full time in the hotel. There was a lunch counter run by John Tomkins and a cigar stand by Thomas J Tomkins. The barber’s shop was run by Lee Vandermark, and there was a Pool Room run by Kimber and Entursette. Herbert VanDecar was the manager, with L Bates VanDecar  of ‘VanDecar and sons’ living at the hotel (probably one of Herbert’s three sons). We assume this is the same L B VanDecar who ran the Royal Hotel in Cranbrook in 1905, with the slogan ‘Van always on hand to welcome guests’ and in 1907 moved to the Driard Hotel in Victoria. The other two brothers, Frank, and A B VanDecur weren’t listed in the Directory as living in the city. In that same year the Westminster Avenue bridge was rebuilt as a bascule bridge.

From 1910 to 1912 Samuel Cunningham, from the Globe, was no longer in the city, (or at least not in the City Directory) but in 1913 he was back, owning the Hotel Cunningham which was the new name for the VanDecar. There’s no sign of any of the VanDecar family in the city that year, and L B seems to have moved on to Port Alberni.

By 1920 the Globe was still in business; H Parkin was running it, and the street was now called Main Street. That year the Cunningham became the Ivanhoe with J G Scott running it, and Mrs Groves the housekeeper. There were a number of long-term residents including a carpenter, millwrights, a cook, a policeman, a diamond driller, the elevator operator at the Birks store, a miner and a welder.

Globe Hotel 1918Not too long after this the Globe disappeared. This 1918 picture shows it hanging on while the new station is built behind, but a few years later the new park was created in front of the station buildings. Today the Ivanhoe continues to welcome world travelers as a Backpacker’s hotel as well as offering long-term accommodation for permanent guests, just as it did when it was first built.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str P429 and CVA Bu N540.084

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