Continental Hotel – Granville Street

Continental Hotel

Although it was referred to in the press as the Kilroy & Morgan Block, and as a 6 storey brick office building, as far as we can tell the building on Granville 50 feet from the corner of Pacific Street was always a hotel – in 1912 the Bayview Hotel. Granville Street veterans Parr and Fee designed the building, as they did on many other lots to the north. This project was valued at $100,000, suggesting Kilroy and Morgan were pretty successful, and it was built by J J Dissette.

In 1911, the year the building was constructed, William Kilroy and Frederick W Morgan ran a gentlemen’s clothing store at 37 Hastings Street, and while Mr Kilroy lived in rooms at the Hotel Vancouver, was aged 35 and claimed to be retired, Mr Morgan (who was only 31 years old) lived with his wife, Jenny, and two sons at 1165 Comox Street. It looks like he came from Quebec, while Mr Kilroy may have come from New Brunswick (but the census clerk badly needed a new nib for his pen).

The hotel opened as the Bayview in 1912, with Sarah Cusick as the manager, her sister worked there and it looks like her brother, Norman lived there too (Norman was manager of BC Colonization Co). Norman and Albert Cusick were in the city in 1910 – Albert made candy for Livingstone & Co, while Norman was a clerk in David spencer’s store and they lived on Howe Street. Albert isn’t listed in 1912. In 1913 Sarah is still at the hotel, and Helena Cusick is working and living there too, but Norman is now a salesman with Western Farming and Colonization Co and has moved up Granville Street. A year later all this Cusick family have left town, but Lena Cusick is managing the Bon Accord Rooms on Hornby. No name is associated with managing the hotel, which seems to have become the Bayview Rooms, with three staff.

Kilroy and Morgan had plans for another even more expensive building in 1912 – a six-storey building received a permit for a Hastings Street location, designed by Braunton and Leibert. But the economy collapsed and the project was never built. In 1913 they bought the Maple Leaf Theatre on Granville Street with a plan to add two floors of commercial space, or apartments. That didn’t happen either – in 1936 it was rebuilt as the Plaza, (today’s Venue).

In the 1920s the Hotel changed to the Continental, which is the name it had in our 1932 image, (and that’s the McCulloch Motor Co in the foreground). It’s still a name it holds today, and it still offers rooms as a single room occupancy hotel, but not for much longer as it’s planned that the tired and compromised building (since the Granville Bridge was built in the 1950s) will soon be replaced. The loss won’t be the hotel (as the city bought a more recently built hotel to re-house the residents – and that building has bathrooms). It will be the mural of whales, painted by Wyland in 1994 and restored in 2010.

 Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 20-109

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