winters hotel


Winters Hotel

102 Water Street, Vancouver, British Columbia



Description of Historic Place

The Hotel Winters is a massive four storey Edwardian era masonry hotel, located on the southwest corner of Water and Abbott Streets in the historic district of Gastown.

Heritage Value

Gastown is the historic core of Vancouver, and is the city's earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings and warehouses. Built for Mrs. A.M. Winters in 1907, the Hotel Winters is valued as an early Gastown hotel, representative of the area's seasonal population in the early twentieth century, as Vancouver emerged as western Canada's predominant commercial centre. Hotels such as this provided both short and long-term lodging, serving primarily those who worked in the seasonal resource trades such as fishing and logging. Many of these hotels had combined functions of commercial services on the ground floor and lodging rooms on the upper floors, which contributed to the lively street life in Gastown. The massive size of this structure illustrates the city's rapid population growth at the time, and the increased pressure to accommodate seasonal workers at a time when the economy was booming.

The Hotel Winters is valued as an excellent example of commercial design from the Edwardian era, demonstrating the local influence of the Chicago School. This is evident in the tripartite facade articulation, and illustrates how popular architectural styles were used by the hotel business to market a progressive image. At the time of its construction, the Hotel Winters was considered one of the better hotels in the city, and was furnished with every modern and up-to-date convenience, including telephones and hot running water. It was designed by one of the city's leading architects, William Tuff Whiteway (1856-1940), who also designed the Woodward's Department Store at Hastings and Abbott Streets (1903) and the World (Sun) Tower at Beatty and Pender Streets, once the tallest commercial building in the British Empire (1912).

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Hotel Winters include:
- prominent corner location, in close proximity to the waterfront of Burrard Inlet and the Canadian Pacific Railway yard
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- spatial relationship to other late Victorian and Edwardian era commercial buildings
- massive scale and cubic massing as expressed in its monolithic four-storey height, flat roof and rectangular plan
- masonry construction: pressed red brick cladding on the front and east facades; common red brick cladding on the rear and west facades; rough-dressed sandstone lintels and sills; and massive granite threshold at entry
- rectangular storefront openings with prefabricated cast iron ground floor columns, inscribed with maker's mark 'SMW NW BC'
- original chamfered corner entry, with original wooden door surround, transoms and dentils
- central entry on Abbott Street to the upper floors with brick columns and intricately carved sandstone capitals, original wooden door surround, transom and dentils
- double-hung 1-over-1 wood-sash windows on upper floors
- sheet metal cornice above storefronts
- surviving original interior features such as mosaic tile floor at entry, stair balusters, wall paneling and other woodwork

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