1180 Granville Street

This is another Parr and Fee designed hotel on Granville Street, seen here in 1934 with the Peter Pan Cafe operating downstairs. The Hotel was the Hotel Martinique, developed by Charles Fee in 1912 and built by J J Dissette at a cost of $100,000.  Charles Fee was unmarried and lived with his brother, Thomas, the architect of the building. He owned the building until his death, in 1927, when his estate (administered by his brother), sold it. An April edition of the Vancouver Sun described the circumstances of his death. “Succumbing apparently to a heart attack, Charles Fee, proprietor of the Martinique Hotel, was found dead in his room at the hotel shortly after 10 o’clock this morning. When discovered by hotel officials whose suspicions had become aroused over the non-appearance of the proprietor, Mr. Fee was found lying on the floor fully dressed. The body was removed to the city morgue upon Instructions of Coroner W. I. Brydone-Jack. It Is not expected that an Inquest will be held.” An autopsy was carried out, revealing that Mr. Fee had died as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage. The brothers were from Quebec, and Charles arrived in BC later than Thomas, who had already designed many of the city’s buildings, and assembled his own portfolio of investment property.

When the hotel was first operating the retail unit alongside the hotel entrance stayed vacant for a while, and seemed to change quite often. For example, in 1919 C Timberlake’s second hand store was here, in 1925 McLachlan & Fraser’s hardware store, and in 1930 W T McArthur selling stoves and ranges. That year the Peter Pan Cafe was already in operation on this block, but a little further to the west. The cafe moved here in 1934, when this image was taken.

Peter Pantages was the nephew of ‘Alexander’ Pantages who ran the successful theatre circuit from Seattle that included two Vancouver theatres. Alexander (who was christened Pericles), brought several nephews to Vancouver from his native Greece. Peter arrived around 1919 and initially worked as an usher in his uncle’s theatre. A keen sea swimmer, in 1920 he persuaded four friends to swim with him in English Bay on New Year’s Day – the start of the Polar Bear Swim Club that continues today, now with over 2,000 participants. By 1929 he was running the Peter Pan Café on Granville with his three brothers Lloyd, Angelo and Alphonsos. He was still involved in 1971, when he died on vacation in Hawaii. Today the lane between Davie and Burnaby Street in the West End is named in his memory.

Until earlier in 2020 it was still a hotel – most recently a Howard Johnson – but the building was bought by the BC Housing agency in mid 2020 to operate as a non-market housing property, initially to provide urgent relief to reduce street homeless numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Longer term it’s expected to be redeveloped with the adjacent site that was bought at the same time. Until the Covid pandemic a branch of Wings restaurant operated here.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4420


Posted 28 January 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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