THOMPSON, METRO VANCOUVER
February 04, 2009
women who had been sleeping in alleys or shelters will now have
a safe place to call home with the opening of a new women’s
housing complex in the Downtown Eastside.
Hotel was bought, renovated and finally reopened Wednesday after
a $9.5 million contribution from the provincial and federal governments
and $5 million from Health Canada.
41-unit, single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel will have a 20-unit
treatment program for women in recovery from detox, and 21 self-contained
units for tenants.
our community there is a lot to be sad about,” said Liz
Evans, founder of the Portland Hotel Society, which will be managing
the third-floor units.
building represents homes and hope for the women in this community.
This will Development, said the new building “means nothing
if the people in it aren’t provided with an opportunity
to change their lives.”
with support services is the absolute key here,” he said.
“Access to secure, affordable housing with integrated support
services is an important step toward breaking the cycle of homelessness.”
Hay, with Vancouver Coastal Health, called the announcement a
“benchmark day” for the women of the Downtown Eastside.
is often the first step in recovery, but it isn’t enough,”
she said. “By offering a range of supports to vulnerable
women after detox treatment, we are giving them the tools to become
stable, regain control of their health and establish a foundation
for ongoing recovery.”
309 Carrall Street,
Vancouver, British Columbia
of Historic Place
The Rainier Hotel at 309 Carrall Street is a three storey Classical
Revival-style hotel building located on the corner of Carrall
and West Cordova Streets in the historic Gastown district of Vancouver.
The heritage value of the Rainier Hotel lies in the historic
relationship between this area and the economy of early Vancouver.
It is associated with Gastown's history in the late nineteenth
and early twentieth century as a mixed-use district and the centre
for Vancouver's trade and manufacturing. When the City of Vancouver
became the entrepot between the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR)
and trans-Pacific shipping in 1887, the hub of this international
commercial activity was Gastown. In the late nineteenth century,
this area of town was, for the most part, populated by unattached
males of working age, largely employed in seasonal resource industries
and often unemployed in the off season. This type of hotel was
in high demand not only to provide central, inexpensive housing
for workers, but also to accommodate travellers and businessmen.
The accompanying saloons and restaurants served their culinary
needs while facilities such as billiard rooms provided recreational
As late as the 1940s, the corner of Carrall and Cordova was still
considered the 'crossroads of Vancouver's loggers' district.'
Within a radius of two to three blocks, almost every hotel, cafe,
store and bar catered to the loggers. Also in this vicinity were
the 'man catchers', the camp employment agencies where those out
of work could find new jobs. In addition, Carrall Street ran south
from the Union Steamship Company docks, which for fifty years
were synonymous with travel to the work camps of the coast. The
Rainier Hotel, like many other buildings in Gastown, served a
combined function of providing lodging on the upper floors and
commercial space on the ground floor, contributing to the bustling
street-level retail businesses in the area. Early hotels did not
have facilities for food preparation in the rooms, so even long
term tenants had to obtain their meals elsewhere.
Built in 1907 by architect Emil Guenther for William and John
H. Quann, the Rainier Hotel replaced the earlier Balmoral Hotel
on this site (also owned by the Quann brothers), a wood plank
structure noted as a gambling resort during the Klondike Gold
Rush. The Rainier exemplifies the multiple uses of early buildings
and the evolution of the neighbourhood. By 1913, the complex housed
not only the hotel but also a taxicab office, cafe, barber shop
and billiard room - all catering to the largely male population.
Unlike many hotel complexes in the area, the Rainier continued
to house the same types of businesses until the 1970s, when the
main floor was turned into a night club.
There is also value in the architectural design, which reflects
the change in public taste from the highly ornate facades of the
high Victorian period to the more refined decoration of the Edwardian
era. Classical buildings used columns as support features, while
this revival of the style uses engaged columns or pilasters as
decorative items. Although the building is located adjacent to
an alley, the cornice with its brackets and dentils is present
on only the front portion of the alley facade.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The key elements which
define the heritage character of the Rainier Hotel include its:
- prominent corner location on the intersection of Carrall and
West Cordova Street, accentuated by the two formal facades and
chamfered corner entrance with cast iron column supporting the
outside facade of the brick facade above.
- red brick construction with three-storey irregular form expressed
by the trapezoid-shaped plan.
- scale, configuration, and rhythm of the traditional components
of the lower facade, including the ground floor height, minor
cornice, access to upper floors, recessed entries, and high ceilings
of the ground floor shopfront.
- configuration with transoms, proportion and clear glazing of
the large display windows.
- architectural articulation of the upper facade including the
stone lintels, sills, projecting sheet metal upper cornice with
brackets aligned with the two-storey decorative pilasters, and
openings in the masonry surface with a roughly equal solid to
- wood double-hung windows in the west light-well with evidence
of original paint color.