George Rooms – East Georgia Street

George Rooms 215 E Georgia

Until 1985 the George Rooms sat behind Charles Woodward’s Vancouver Main Street store that stood on the corner of East Georgia. The building was designed, as far as we can tell, by Townsend & Townsend for D C McLaren (of 646 Main Street) and built at a cost of $40,000 by E J Ryan. When it was built in 1912 East Georgia was still called Harris Street, and the building was described in the Daily Building Record as a five-storey brick store & rooming house. D C McLaren was a saddler and harness maker – the Museum of Vancouver has some of his work. He was also the Provincial Grand Master of the Orange Lodge of BC. David Carlson McLaren was born in Ontario in 1868, his wife Mildred came from Quebec, and in 1911 they had a 12-year-old son at home called Raleigh, who had been born in Kamloops in 1898. Mr. McLaren’s business was on Main Street, but he lived on Woodland Drive. David McLaren died in 1943, having last worked as a leather worker in 1922. His wife Mildred died in 1950, aged 83, and their son Raleigh McLaren died in 1966, aged 67, at Ganges in Saltspring Island, having worked in construction as a bridgeman according to his death certificate.

The rooms changed name in the very early years. They started out as the Mori Rooms, but in 1914 they were the Apex Rooms run by Mr. McLaren himself – a name they retained into the 1920s. By 1975 the building had clearly deteriorated, but was returning (briefly) to active service as a 73-room SRO hotel. A Council report in 1975 on “Derelict Buildings in Skid Road – 205-15 East Georgia Street” stated that “The Fire Chief reports as follows: These premises are now fully sprinklered and at the time of writing this report the building is almost ready for complete occupancy. There are some minor routine Bylaw requirements to be completed but otherwise  the premises may be occupied at any time.” The rooms continued in use until 1984, and were demolished in 1985 to make way for the 8-storey strata parkade, retail and office building that’s there today.

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Posted January 21, 2016 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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