Archive for the ‘Painter and Swales’ Tag

West Georgia Street west from The Bay

Here’s a bonus Hotel Vancouver shot – one built from 1912 to 1916, on the left, which cost the best part of three million dollars to build, designed by Painter and Swales, and the one still standing today, started in 1928 and designed by Montreal-based architects Archibald and Schofield, but not completed until 1939.

The newly installed canopy on the Hudson’s Bay building entrance isn’t an exact replica of the original, but it’s a vast improvement on the heavy steel canopies that were added later than this 1931 image shows. The third Hotel Vancouver was at this point just a shell – it was sealed up to ensure water didn’t get in, but no interior work was carried out as the depression in the economy dragged on during the 1930s. It was only the prospect of a Royal Visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the city that finally prompted the completion of the new hotel. It was opened during the royal visit in 1939 having cost $12 million.

Once the third hotel was opened, the second was decommissioned, but was used to house returning war veterans during the late 1940s. It was torn down in 1949; a sad fate for an impressive structure. The site sat vacant as a parking lot for many years, until construction of the Pacific Centre Mall started in the early 1970s. This part of the site is home to the TD Tower, designed by Ceasar Pelli & Associates in bronze tinted glass, reflecting Cathedral Place and the Royal Centre across the street

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 260-226

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Posted May 24, 2018 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Tagged with ,

West Georgia Street east from Hornby

Georgia e from Hornby 2

Here’s a 1927 view of the Pacific Centre across the Courthouse plaza (soon to get a comprehensive makeover as a paved area lined with trees). We’ve seen this area before, but looking the other way. We’ve been waiting to attempt this shot as the Pacific Centre rework of the former Eatons / Sears store has only just been completed. The Courthouse on the right really hasn’t changed, although the existing trees hide it a bit. The huge flagpole has gone, as has the second Hotel Vancouver that we wrote about a few years ago.

The courthouse was originally designed by Francis Rattenbury in a grand neoclassical structure in 1906. Six years later it was expanded in a less flamboyant (and cheaper) style by Thomas Hooper. Once Arthur Erickson’s new courthouse was completed in 1982, the Vancouver Art Gallery moved here after extensive alterations, also designed by Erickson’s office.

The second hotel was one of the city’s finest buildings, and its loss was very regrettable, but understandable as its replacement was so large that the two could never have successfully have survived together at the time, even if there hadn’t been a deal that ensured it closed. It was demolished in 1947 and only replaced in the early 1970s with Cesar Pelli’s TD Tower, and his white concrete Eatons store, recently reclad and repurposed as offices and Nordstrom store to a design of James K M Cheng.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  Bu N141.1

Second Hotel Vancouver – Granville and Georgia

The history of the redevelopment of the second Hotel Vancouver is surprisingly complicated. The CPR opened the first hotel in 1888. In 1893 the added a new wing known as the Van Horne wing on Granville Street, and then another completed around 1904 on Georgia Street at a cost of $100,000. This was designed with the intent of setting the style of the new, much larger hotel. By 1908 Eric Nicol noted that the Hotel “had 205 rooms, 75 with bath connections – a ratio bordering on hedonism”.

In 1910 the CPR excavated on Howe Street and in early 1911 built Honeyman and Curtis’s Annex. Meanwhile, at the end of 1910 the new CPR architect W S Painter obtained a building permit for $2,000,000 for an ‘Addition to hotel’. In January 1912 it was reported that a $1,000,000 14-storey replacement hotel would be built for the CPR. It wouldn’t just fill the Granville and Georgia corner – as the 1917 image above shows it filled the block all the way back to Robson and Howe.

In May under the headline ‘To Start work on CPR Hotel in Fall’ the Contract Record said ‘The latest advices from Montreal by the C P R inVancouver state that the board of directors ot the railway company have approved an appropriation of  $1,200,000 for the proposed reconstruction of the Hotel Vancouver, and another $215,000 for the power plant in connection with the hotel The latter building is now in course of erection.

The main hotel building will occupy the site of the hotel office or central section and will be extended south as far as the Opera House lane. It will be at least twelve stories in height, and two additional stories will be added to the Georgia st wing completed about eight years ago.

When completed the hotel, it is said, will have the largest ground floor corridors  of any hotel in existence. Construction will be started late this fall as soon us the rush of tourists is over. The plans are now being prepared by Painter & Swale, Metropolitan bldg.’

In October the Daily Building Record reported “Plans were filed with the building inspector yesterday for the proposed rebuilding of the Hotel Vancouver, corner of Georgia and Granville sts, at a cost of $800,000. The structure will be of steel and concrete with terra cotta facings.

The bldg will be heated by steam and all of the partition walls will be fireproof. Hardwood floors are specified also 3 passenger elevators and one for freight. The central portion of the bldg will be 14 storeys in height with wings on either side, the New Orpheum theatre, which is now being erected, being in the nature of a wing to correspond with the railway company’s main hotel bldg. Painter & Swales, Metropolitan bldg. are the architects. A contr has not been let as yet.”

By November 1912 the architects (who had moved offices) were looking for suppliers of the terra cotta and the steel contract was let to J Coughlin at a cost of $200,000.  Then everything slowed down. In 1913 reports covered a revised version of the plans “The Canadian Pacific Railway recently deposited plans for four additional storeys to the central portion of the Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, and for the east wing fronting on Granville street, at an estimated cost of $1,100,000. The estimated outlay on the work of reconstructing the central portion of the hotel, calling for twelve storeys, was $800,000, so that with the addition of the work now proposed, the ultimate cost will not be far short of $2,000,000. According to the plans, the central part of the structure will be sixteen storeys in height, and the east wing will be eleven storeys, with the exception of the centre, midway between Georgia street and the Orpheum theatre. Here a large hall will be situated, for banquet purposes. The entrance to this hall will be 87 feet by 59 feet, and will be from Granville street. The whole structure will be of reinforced concrete and steel construction, faced with pressed brick.” Painter and Swales obtained another permit – this one for $1,100,000, and construction started. The various replacement sections, additions and the extra height were now said to be costing $2,500,000. By the time the project was being built the architect was Francis Swales; like Francis Rattenbury who was the initial choice for the new hotel, W S Painter had abandoned the task.

Even then, everything wasn’t complete. The Granville Street wing was the last to be added, replacing the Van Horne wing, and completed in 1916. The company confirmed that year they would be adding 250 more rooms but not until the war was over. The company said the hotel had already cost $3,000,000 and the addition would cost $750,000 more. That part of the project never happened. Even as it was being planned, a long term future of the project was in doubt. In the meantime, the most remarkable and expensive building that the city had seen was open for business, with fabulous views out to the north shore mountains from the sixteenth storey roof garden and terrace. We’ll return to the story of the hotel’s future in a further post.

Main image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Second Hotel Vancouver CVA 677-969