The Buchan – 1906 Haro Street

This has to be one of the city’s lesser known hotels. We took the picture when there were no leaves on the trees – taken now the building is almost impossible to see. Built in 1935, and designed by H S Griffith, it still has the name it was given when it was opened. For some reason the current hotel website believe it dates back to 1926, but through to the early 1930s there were three families living in a property owned by the Royal Trust Company. Previously the house had been owned by Major Barwis, who added a garage in 1911. Our Vancouver Public Library image dates back to 1943.

William Bailey Barwis was the manager of the Vancouver office of the Manufacturers’ Life Insurance Company, born in Magantic in Quebec and resident in a house here from 1908 to 1918. In 1936 this address appears for the first time in the street directory as the Buchan Hotel, shown as being managed by Mrs L L McCallum, (although Charles B McCallum is listed as the manager elsewhere in the same directory).

It’s claimed that the hotel was named after novelist and politician, John Buchan. As Baron Tweedsmuir he visited Vancouver twice, in 1936 and 1939, having been appointed Governor General of Canada in 1935, the year the hotel was being built. On his second visit Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir visited the City of Vancouver Archives and met Major Matthews – an event appropriately recorded in a photograph in the Archives today. This is one of the later designs of H S Griffith, who designed dozens of Victoria and Vancouver commercial and residential projects over a period of over 30 years.

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Posted August 10, 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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