Archive for the ‘Angelo Calori’ Tag

Hotel Europe (3)

We looked at the fabulous flatiron Hotel Europe in one of our earliest posts, and another view soon after. Here’s the original Hotel Europe which became the hotel’s annex when the much larger new structure was built next door in 1908. Our 1975 image shows the fire escape that has now been removed, but otherwise it’s still looking as good as ever. Today it’s part of a housing co-op that includes the flatiron building as well.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography has an entry for Angelo Calori, the hotel’s owner and developer. “A fire in June destroyed every structure in Vancouver with the exception of one wooden building, which Calori purchased and transformed into the European Hotel. Five years later, after the city’s population had increased from approximately 1,000 to over 13,000, the establishment became known as the Hotel Europe. A photograph of Calori taken in 1893 reveals a confident businessman with dark eyes and a neatly trimmed full moustache.”

Some of this is correct. There was a fire in 1886, and only one building, a hotel, survived it. However, that was the Regina Hotel on Water Street, a long way from Powell and Alexander where Mr Calori’s property was located, and it was run by Edmond Cosgrove after the fire. In fact there’s no sign of Angelo Calori in Vancouver until 1888, when he was initially listed as running a restaurant, with the Hotel Europe getting mentioned for the first time a year later (run by Andrew and Joseph Calorae). His early history in North America isn’t documented, but it’s thought that he may have been in San Francisco before heading to Victoria in 1882 and working in the lower mainland building the railway, and in 1887 he was almost certainly the Angelo Calari working in the Nanaimo mines.

There were actually two Calori brothers in Vancouver, Joseph (actually named Guillermo) and Angelo, who were running the hotel in 1890 – the year they were fined for selling liquor on Sunday at the hotel. We can only find Angelo in the 1891 census, a 28-year old hotel-keeper born in Italy. The picture is Angelo in around 1893. In 1897 there was a third Calori Brother, C Calori, living at the hotel.

In 1899 Angelo had W T Dalton design ‘brick additions’ to the hotel. There’s an undated image that shows only the western half of the building, with a wooden structure marked ‘Hotel Europe’ to the east. So there was an original wooden building, a new larger brick building added later (on the left) and a further replacement in matching style replacing the wooden building in 1899, designed by W T Dalton. The first brick addition was completed in October 1893 when the News Advertiser announced “The new premises of the Hotel Europe were opened last night. Mr. Calori, the proprietor, gave a ball, which was largely attended.” Whether the building we see today was all a Dalton design is unclear – he may have just replicated the first part, and we don’t have a confirmed architect for that.

That 1891 census was missing a few people – Joseph Calori (older than Angelo by three years) was involved in running the business, shown in the street directory and still shared an address with Angelo (at the hotel) in 1901. We initially thought that in 1891 Angelo was married to Theresa, another Italian, although there was no Theresa Calori in the city. A daughter, Josephine Lena Calori was registered as having been born in Vancouver in 1889, at the Hotel Europe, with Doctor Mills in attendance. However, her birth wasn’t registered until 1904, with Angelo Calori listed as the father and Theresa Martina the mother. The 1891 census suggests a slightly different story. Therese Martina was a lodger in the Europe Hotel, with her two-year old daughter Josie, born in BC, whose father and mother had both been born in Italy. The biography says Angelo adopted Theresa’s daughter and they had a second daughter, but we think there was only ever one child, Josephine Lena.

The 1901 census said Angelo and Theresa were married, and that both arrived in Canada in 1882, and Joseph Calori in 1883. Joseph and Rosi Martina, aged 17 and 14, described as Angelo’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law also lived with the family. There were six domestics at the Europe Hotel, three of them also from Italy, and then many long-term residents, one described by the census as a ‘roomer’ and the others as ‘boarders’.

In 1907 Angelo nearly lost possession of the hotel after a complex court case involving financier and developer Frederick T Andrews. Mr. Calori eventually prevailed, and Mr. Andrews was required by the Supreme Court of Canada to sell the building (previously optioned to him) after some dubious paperwork generated by a land agent, who pocketed a commission for the sale arrangement.

The 1911 Census didn’t find Angelo or his family, but Guillermo Calori was aged 50, and living at 56 Powell Street (which is across the street from this building). Around this period Angelo and Theresa Calori are absent from the street directories. After 1910 the hotel was managed by Albert Berger, and then F A McKeown. When the Calori’s returned to Vancouver in 1915, Angelo lived in a 25-room house on Burnaby Street and G Calori was shown still living at 56 Powell Street. That’s probably the same building that in 1906 was used as the Hotel Europe Annex, before the larger new flatiron building was completed.

We don’t know where the Calori’s went to for the early 1910s, although Angelo’s biography says it was a trip to Italy. US border records show that in 1912 Angelo immigrated to Vermont and a year later to Seattle. In 1914, in New York, aged 52 and single, he married Theresa Martina who was aged 53, and described as widowed. Both Angelo and Theresa were born in Varese Ligure in Italy. It would appear that Theresa (Teresa in some records) had originally married somebody else, but had lived with Angelo as husband and wife for many years. As catholics, divorce would have been impossible, so they presumably had to wait for Theresa’s husband to die. Whether (Josephine) Lena, whose birth was registered as Angelo’s daughter was actually his daughter is less clear.

Angelo’s family circumstances (if they were known) didn’t seem to have affected his progress in the city. He built one of the finest hotels, acquired a theatre, and was a founding member of the Sons of Italy, a mutual-benefit society founded in 1905. He died in May 1940, and was buried in Mountain View cemetery. He was predeceased by Lena, who died in 1930, and by Theresa, who died in 1934; all three share a prominent headstone. His son-in-law was the only remaining family member to remain able to deal with Angelo’s will. However, with the onset of the war, he and 40 other Italian men from Vancouver were interned at Kananaskis, Alberta, having become members of a Mussolini linked political club.

Image sources City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-506 and CVA 81-1.



Posted 5 June 2017 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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The Lux – East Hastings Street

The Lux

The Lux was a locally designed theatre (although really a movie house) that lasted for over 50 years on East Hastings Street. We looked for a ‘before’ image for a long time before coming across this image from 1994 on Christian Dahlberg’s website devoted to Vancouver’s neon. The Lux was built in 1939 and finally closed in the 1990s after a last-ditch attempt to keep it going by advertising its presence with the dramatic paint job and the offer of a $2.50 double bill. It had briefly taken on a new role in the late 1980s and early 90s as a real theatre – mostly as home to local punk music events. It was a local visual landmark, photographed by both Fred Herzog and Greg Girard.

Princess TheatreThe Lux was originally built by the Odeon chain, designed by Thomas L Kerr who also designed the Odeon on Granville Street (still standing today, much altered and now closed), and had around 900 seats.

It wasn’t the first theatre on the site – that was the Princess. The Princess appears around 1910 (the first reference to it in the Street Directory). Although it has been attributed to E E Blackmore with Charles Shand (who designed the Empress Theatre across the street) we haven’t been able to confirm that, and have some doubts that they were involved. In 1910 there was a $1,000 alteration permit for the theatre carried out by Irwin, Carver & Co for owner and architect (supposedly) Angelo Calori; the Italian hotelier who had recently built the Hotel Europe. There is a court case in December 1905 with Calori contesting a Mr Andrews’ attempt to renege on a deal to sell him a property on Hastings Street. From what we can tell it is the theatre lots. He was successful in gaining ownership by 1907. There is a clipping from March 1910 with him taking out a permit to build a one storey building at a cost of $8,000 pretty much on the site of the theatre, and then the conversion to the theatre (actually a purpose-built movie theatre) that year. (We’d guess Norman Leech was a more likely architect; he designed something similar on Granville Street around this time).

Although this picture is thought to date to around 1920, it’s almost certainly earlier. Both movies that are showing ‘One Month To Live’ and ‘Cowboy for a Day’ were silent films released in 1911. The theatre however was far from silent – it had a pipe organ installed in 1911, hence the notice ‘The Home of the PIPE ORGAN – step in and hear it’

Today there’s a new Lux; one of the more recent non-market housing schemes funded by the Provincial government on land provided by the City of Vancouver. Designed by Gomberoff Bell Lyon and managed by Raincity housing, the Lux provides 92 apartments and was completed in 2009. The site is slightly larger than the cinema, incorporating another building site, but the Lux name lives on in the same location.

Image Sources: Christian Dahlberg,, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-867


Posted 18 December 2013 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Hotel Europe (2)

We saw the fabulous Parr and Fee flatiron building of the Hotel Europe before, but this 1931 angle really shows the delight of the flatiron solution to filling the site. The building was erected in 1908 for Angelo Calori, and is probably the first reinforced concrete building in the city.

The other feature of note is the amount of additional clutter that has been added to the street. It’s winter, so at least you can see the building through the tree, but there are chains, bollards, clustered light fittings, coloured block sidewalks and banners on the streetlamps. The telegraph poles and tracks for the streetcar have gone though, and you can’t park all the way down the street anymore.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3892


Posted 18 March 2012 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Hotel Europe (1)

The Hotel Europe is one of the city’s most identifiable, and appreciated, buildings. It is undoubtedly the best flatiron building in the city, taking advantage of the meeting of two streets meeting at a sharp angle to create a building with a beautifully curved prow. The man who commissioned the building was hotelier Angelo Calori, who arrived from Italy in Victoria in 1882, and settled in Vancouver in 1886. The building in this postcard image from around 1909, (the year it was completed), is an addition to the original hotel which lies to the east – and is bigger than the first hotel which dates back to 1889 (which Calori owned from at least 1902).

Designed by Parr and Fee (probably Vancouver’s most prolific architects), it displays almost none of their trademark design elements. Instead it borrows from Daniel Burnham’s Flatiron Building in Manhattan, completed in 1902. This is particularly true in the twin column window design on the ‘point’ of the building. It was built by the Ferro-Concrete Construction Company who were brought in from Cincinnati. They had built the first tall reinforced concrete building in 1902, and the hotel is among the first reinforced concrete buildings in the city (and possibly the oldest). There is an earlier design suggest an even more dramatic building – two storeys higher and with a rash of bay windows. The current version is probably more elegant, and practical from a maintainance perspective. It’s quite a bit bigger than the first idea; in 1905 it was reported that “A. Calori, proprietor of the Europe Hotel, has purchased the five fractional lots which comprise the gore at the junction of Powell and Alexander streets and having a frontage of 125 feet on each of the streets mentioned. Mr. Calori intends building on the property a large four-storey tourist hotel, containing elevators and modern equipment.”

Calori developed houses in the East End not long after his arrival in the city and also appears to have owned the Princess Theatre on East Hastings Street in 1910. These days the hotel and its older ‘annex’ provides 84 units of non-market housing.


Posted 15 January 2012 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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