Archive for the ‘H S Rowling’ Tag

Orwell Hotel – East Hastings Street


There’s not much changed between our 1978 image and today. The Orwell was developed in 1911, and if anything it’s in better condition now than then. BC Housing acquired the building in 2007, and have carried out a series of improvements and restored the façade, which was designed by W P White. Today it’s run by Vancouver Native Housing Society. When it was developed H S Rowling was the developer, and Booker, Campbell & Whipple were the builders of the $70,000 reinforced concrete building. As far as we could tell from Building Permits it was Mr. Rowling’s only development project, although that turns out to be inaccurate.

Henry Soar Rowling was President of the Vancouver Real Estate Co, and unusually, he was a local. He was born in New Westminster in 1864, son of a Royal Engineer who arrived in British Columbia in 1858 on the North American Boundary Commission. Henry was a contractor in 1881, later operating tugboats on the Fraser River and then the Burnett River that runs out of Burnaby Lake. In conversation with Major Matthews he recalled hauling logs to the mills, including along a skid road where Gore Avenue is today, near Greer’s Beach (in Kitsilano) and from Brockton Point (in Stanley park).

In 1903 he moved into real estate. A 1914 biography said he owned two business blocks, ‘and much business and residential property’ as well as the Orwell (a rooming house when it was built) he constructed a building on the corner of Vernon and Albert Streets.


Posted September 19, 2016 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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