retrieved April 2013
We don’t know who designed the Golden Gate Hotel (on the
corner of Drake Street) but the possible architects are on a relatively
short list, as it dates back to 1889, making it around the same
age as the Yale Hotel a block away. In fact it’s slightly
older than the Yale (which was then called the Colonial Hotel),
as it was connected to the water system in March, while the Colonial
wasn’t hooked up until July.
The Colonial Hotel, the Golden Gate and 1286 Granville first appeared
in the 1889 Directory and the Colonial and 1286 were designed
by N S Hoffar – so he may have designed this building as
J Teese is listed as proprietor, and he reappears in this role
later although in 1890 and 1895 F G Twigg is the listed proprietor
(and the building is also called the Holman Block for some of
this period). In 1894 Captain Tatlow had addressed a friendly
crowd in the hotel in support of the government. In 1896 it’s
listed as being vacant, and there’s no sign of it in the
1897 Directory either. This may have been connected with a pair
of unfortunate incidents recorded in the Times Colonist. On the
left you can read how Mr Twigg lost $265 and a gold watch when
he was held up as he was stabling his horse.
To add insult to injury, two days later his horse and buggy were
stolen. Note the somewhat random use of initials in the 19th century
In 1898 and 1899 the Golden Gate Hotel is back in business, McHugh
and Kelly, proprietors. From 1899 to 1904 Samuel J Teese, an Irishman
who had arrived in Canada in 1881 is back running the hotel. In
1901 the Census shows us there were a number of boarders - four
Americans including two carpenters and a car repairer, another
car repairer from Cape Breton, a carpenter from Ontario, a barber
from Ontario and a fireman, also from Ontario and a labourer from
Nova Scotia. (we assume the car repairers worked at the CPR yards
nearby – many earlier tenants of the hotel were CPR employees
too). William Hinson was the cook and Anne Vincent the waitress.
By 1905 the hotel’ proprietor changed again to George Mottishaw,
and in 1906 Quintin Trotter bought the hotel. A native of Bobcaygeon
in Ontario, Mr Trotter took 3 months to remodel it (he was a skilled
carpenter having worked at the sash and door works and on fitting
out the Princess Victoria). Mr Trotter renamed it the Tourist
Hotel and sold it to George Trorey in 1908, who retained ownership
to at least 1941.
In 1908 the Tourist cafe was listed – but the hotel was
not mentioned. In 1909 the Tourist Hotel has Montagu Gladwin as
the barman along with James McIsaac, Phillip Hacquoil was listed
as proprietor and only 2 boarders were mentioned. In 1911 and
1912 J Montgomery Reeves is listed as proprietor, but we know
the hotel was owned by G E Trorey, who used W H Pawson to design
alterations in 1911 carried out by Western Sheet Metal Works.
George Trorey was a wealthy jeweller who had his own company which
he had sold to Henry Birks, becoming Birks’ General Manager.
Presumably the hotel was an investment and the various ‘proprietors’
listed in the directories carried out the day-to-day management
of the hotel and bar.
Staff changed frequently and comprehensively: in 1911 Clyde Gladwin
was the bartender (Montague Gladwin was now at the Yale, a block
south) . In 1912 Mr Reeves was still shown as the proprietor,
Fred Dunn was the bartender with James McIsaac, Joseph King and
Hector Ross clerks, Minnie Donovan and Margaret Elder were waitresses,
William Wilson the steward, John Conroy and Jeremiah Maroney,
both stonecutters were resident along with John Glasgow a checker
with a dairy and William Haley (who worked for the Western Sheet
Metal Co) and a fitter and carpenter.
A year later the proprietors were Tony Cianci and Joseph Feren
and barmen Ernest Appleton and Thomas Barry had joined James McIsaac.
Herbert Carr was clerk, Nellie Reid and Anna Wachholtz were waitresses,
J H Simpson who operated the Canadian Film Exchange was the only
listed resident. In 1915 there were only two residents, James
Wilson and John McNeil, both loggers and Rebecca McNeil was the
maid. James McIsaac was still at the bar, joined by John Smith.
By 1920 the building was no longer a hotel; there were 6 apartments
as well as Dr Geer and Dr Gibson in the Tourist Block, with the
Bank of Nova Scotia occupying the ground floor. That arrangement
was still in place in 1925, although the doctors were no longer
there. By 1931, when our VPL image was taken, the main floor was
listed as vacant, the bank having moved, but all eight apartments