Archive for the ‘Metropole Hotel’ Tag

Metropole Hotel – Abbott Street (2)

Metropole Hotel 1978

We have already seen the Metropole Hotel when it was the Traveller’s Hotel, developed by Dr R C Boyle and designed by W T Whiteway.

Here it is back in 1978 when it had a substantial canopy over the entrance. This picture also explains the full height doorways that run down the southern face of the building on the lane. Although it looks as if there was some sort of warehouse use, that isn’t the case. Back in the earlier 1923 image there was a fire escape that ran down the outside of the building, which was still there over 50 years later, but not today.

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Metropole Hotel – Abbott Street (1)

This building started life as the Traveller’s Hotel, as it was in this 1923 image. It only acquired the Metropole name when the original Metropole, which was on the other side of the street, was swallowed up by the ever-expanding Woodwards store in 1924. The Travellers was built in 1910 for Dr R C Boyle at a cost of $45,000 and was designed (like so many of the city’s buildings at the time) by W T Whiteway.

Dr Boyle was an active developer, but continued working as an MD as this 1909 cutting shows. He seems to have arrived in Vancouver around 1900, initially living at 811 Thrlow Street and in 1903 at 1076 Robson Street.

He was born in Ontario, but trained in Manitoba at the Medical College, then had a practice in Morden (where his daughter Mildred was born) before the family moved on to BC.

In the 1901 census he was aged 32 and living with his wife, Margaret, (apparently known as May), his five year old daughter, Mildred, a servant, Annie Davis, and his sister, also called Margaret. Dr Boyle’s wife was also born in Ontario, (in Ottawa) but Annie was from England, By 1911 the family had grown with the addition of 10 year old Bidwell – who must have been born within days of the 1901 census, and 3 year old Edward (who had been born in England). Annie has gone, replaced by Mary Smith who had just arrived from Scotland and 17 year old Nellie Stephens acting as nurse. (Nellie had arrived from England aged five).

In 1903 the doctor had Bedford Davidson build four frame dwellings in the 1100 block of Thurlow at a cost of $6,400 and another four on Broughton Street. In 1904 Davidson built a $6,000 home for the doctor on Robson Street designed by Honeyman and Curtis. After the hotel was built, in 1911 Dr Boyle appears to have been the joint developer of 1023-1027 Granville Street, a Parr and Fee designed hotel (The Royal) costing $60,000.

He was First Vice-President of the General Securities Co, capitalised at $300,000 in 1911 and active as brokers and bankers in the Lower Mainland.

The Boyle family was active in the city’s life. The Ladies Musical Club was formed in the Boyle home in 1910, and Mrs Boyle was also a member of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. In 1906 Dr Boyle was part of a large group of dignitaries from western cities (including Seattle and Tacoma) who toured California by train to identify opportunities for greater development of the north west. Dr Boyle died in 1935, and a rather inaccurate obitiary in the Winnipeg Free Press (wrong age, wife identified as neing from Winnipeg) suggests two of three of his brothers also headed to BC, to Penticton and Revelstoke, with another in San Francisco. At the time of his wife’s death in 1955 aged 86, her daughter was living in Seattle and her sons in Eugene and Portland, although two sisters were living in Vancouver.

Today the Metropole, like many of the remaining early hotels in the Downtown Eastside, is a single room occupancy hotel.

Image Source, City of Vancouver Archives Str N48

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West Cordova and Abbott (and Woodwards)

We’ve already referenced the Wilson Block on the corner, owned by real estate broker W B Wilson. He had a series of important tenants including Rand Bros real estate (who initially set the development of the Alhambra Hotel going before George Byrnes took it on), a barrister, D S Wallbridge and the Vancouver Gas Co (C D Rand secretary-treasurer).

The building behind it, up Abbott Street is the first Metropole Hotel, built in 1892 to N S Hoffar’s design for English investors Town and Robinson. For 1894 and 1895 there’s an odd Directory entry “Hotel Metropole vacant” but by 1898 Hodson and Dempsey are proprietors, and in 1900 when this VPL photograph was taken William Hodson was the proprietor, and George Parker was the Manager.

By 1904 Woodward’s Department store had been established on the vacant lot on the corner of West Hastings, next to the Hotel Metropole (at that time managed by Atkins and Johnson) . The Hotel remained standing until 1924 when Woodwards expanded southward, and the Metropole name transferred to an existing hotel, the Travellers Hotel on the opposite side of the street. W T Whiteway designed the 1903 4-storey Woodwards building, and Smith and Goodfellow the vertical expansion of Woodwards in 1910. Today’s heritage restoration was designed by Henriquez Partners as well as the 32 storey tower on the corner.

Here’s a Vancouver Sun image dated to 1908 that shows the 1903 store with its new addition on the Abbott and West Hastings corner and the restored (and seismically rebuilt) Woodwards building, now used as offices and a childcare. The Metropole Hotel can be seen a bit further down Abbott Street. As the addition by Smith and Goodfellow wasn’t added until 1910, the image must really date from at least then.

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