Archive for the ‘Sunnyside Hotel’ Tag

Water Street – west from Carrall (1)

This VPL picture shows Water Street in 1889, just three years after the fire that destroyed the buildings of the newly named city of Vancouver. Since then the railway arrived (with a station way off beyond the end of the picture) and the tracks ran on trestles on the beach, behind the buildings to the right. That’s the Alhambra Hotel in the Byrnes Block on the left, and the Sunnyside Hotel on the right, a replacement for the hotel of the same name that was burned down in the fire. The original sat on stilts over the beach and Burrard Inlet, but there’s been a lot of filling and adding to the beach and the street level in a short time (the 1901 Insurance map still referred to Water Street as ‘Plank Roadway on Piles’).

Beyond the Alhambra is the fire station – much more important to citizens with their recent experience of fire. This is the location that city historian Major Matthews identified Constable Miller’s cottage as having been located (before the fire) with the unlocked cells in the back to allow the more inebriated citizens to sleep it off. This was stretched to the ‘Gaolers Mews’ of the 1970s – actually a yard behind a former car garage (which can be see today with three extra floors added a couple of years ago, in a conversion to residential use designed by Acton Ostry).

These days the site of the Sunnyside features the former premises of Swift Meat Packing – today it’s retail and office space, but in between it became the Alexandra Hotel. There’s very little else on the right hand side in the picture – the beach was still accessible, although cut off by the rail tracks. There were sail makers in the buildings beyond the Sunnyside and beyond the gap, while on the left were a series of bars, hotels and stores. Most had been rebuilt in wood in only a few days after the fire, and all but the Alhambra would be replaced in the next few years.


Posted February 6, 2012 by ChangingCity in Altered, Gastown

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Alexandra Hotel – Water Street

We’re in Maple Tree Square, in Gastown, in 1907 – and in 2011 there’s Gassy Jack’s statue, but in 1907 there’s a spiffy new $45,000 hotel, the Alexandra. Parr and Fee designed it the year before, and it replaced a building less than 20 years old, the Sunnyside Hotel. The Sunnyside was one of the first buildings in Granville – built in 1875 before the town was renamed as Vancouver – and it sat on the water side of Water Street, so mostly on piles over the beach. It was right opposite (Gassy) Jack Deighton’s hostelry.

The original hotel burned with the rest of the city in 1886, but a new structure was quickly built to replace it and given the old name. It’s still listed in 1906, but in 1907 it’s replaced by the ‘Alexandria’ – corrected to Alexandra in subsequent years. Just 11 years later that’s gone too; in 1917 it’s still there – In 1918 the 2-storey extension to the 1911 Swift Meat Packing Company was built.

There’s no record of who designed it, but the 1911 4-storey (later 5-storey) structure to the west was designed by Swift Canadian Co and there’s no reason to suppose they needed anyone else to help design a 2-storey brick-faced box extension. More recently it’s been a restaurant and a furniture store, and is now awaiting a new tenant, but it’s a smaller and meaner building than the hotel that lasted only a few years on the site.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-577