As a followup to last week’s Hotel Vancouver #2 mural, here’s another long lost mural from the Hotel Vancouver #3.
In 1939 Charles Comfort depicted Captain Vancouver as the guest of honour at a Northwest Coast Native potlatch ceremony for the foyer of the newly constructed Hotel Vancouver.
In the previous mural, a group of completely out of place Plains Indians appear far off in the background on the right hand side. At least here, the Northwest Coast Natives are depicted with greater accuracy, prominently placed in the foreground with artistry.
But it’s hard not to view the depiction of the First Nations in a subservient manner. The three white men stand on podiums like track and field winners, looking rather pompous with their ship’s oar, navigational aids, and British flag. A massive totem pole looms in the background while birds fly idyllically overhead. With a target audience of visiting tourists, the intent of the mural was clearly to welcome and inspire the guests. There is no foreshadowing of the potlatch ban that would come years later.
This image is seen on the cover of the book National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s - 1930s by Marylin J. McKay. Ironically, the painting itself is on the other side of the country in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI.
Ladies Parlor of the Castle Hotel, a vintage postcard-like image via Glen A Mofford’s outstanding collection of hotel and beer parlour ephemera on flickr. This photograph shows a series of large scale murals above each booth, which I presume to be paintings they but could also be tapestries? I do suspect these are original art and not merely reproductions or wallpaper. I have never seen this interior before and it looks to be phenomenal!
This hotel was once located at 750 Granville Street tucked in next to the Vancouver Block, and it operated at that location from 1915-1990. Previously it was known as the Windsor Hotel which operated from 1888-1914. This postcard image is circa 1930, and it appears to mix art deco styles with some very organic folk art, creating quite a contemporary visual feast. It must have been spectacular to see in colour! This would have been such a great place to hang out after a show across the street during any of these eras: the old Opera House (1891), the Orpheum [#3] (1913), Loew’s Vaudeville (1914), the Orpheum [again, this time owned by the Orpheum Circuit] (1915), Vancouver Theatre (1927), Lyric Theatre (1935), International Cinema (1948), and Lyric Theatre again (c.1965-1969).
If anyone ever finds any further documentation surrounding these murals or the artist responsible, please leave a comment! I stretched a few of the panels for a simulated view of the art, but it is very difficult to reconstruct at this dramatic angle. It also appears to me that there are at least 8 large scale panels on the right hand side, with at least 3 more on the left, possibly with room for 4 or 5 more on the left! Conceivably, there could be as many as 16 original panels in this room - astonishing.
For more ephemera related to Beer Parlours and the Castle Hotel, see Glen’s additional posts on flickr. Thanks to Tom Carter for assistance clarifying the complicated theatre chronology above! The years listed above roughly indicates the year the name changed. Furthermore, between the last name change, the theatre was actually turned into a bank for a while! Alas, if only I could find a time machine, this would be the first block I visit!
The Waldorf Hotel by Ash Tanasiychuk, from a series of Vancouver venues and galleries participating in the Olio Festival last year. 2012 was the last year of the Olio Festival, as the programmers are moving on. From the Georgia Straight:
After four years as one of Vancouver’s more colourful and certainly hipper cultural events, Olio is calling it quits…
…Color Magazine is still holding JAMCOUVER this summer, the one-day skate fest it pioneered with Olio in 2011, while he’s teaming with some of his festival partners to launch a smaller “no-filler version of Olio” later in the year called CULt.R. “It’ll be more focused,” he said. “Not skate-fashion-film at a thousand different venues; it’s going to be one party at one venue.”
Co-founder Dani Vachon, meanwhile, is concentrating on her new project; a group of “talented marketing, design, and arts-based individuals” offering their navigation services to local businesses called The Beacon Collective.
Since its inception in August 2009, the Olio Festival hosted over 30 thousand visitors and a remarkable roster of local and international talent, including such varied musical fare as Teen Daze, Cave Singers, Father John Misty, Chad VanGaalen and J. Mascis.
I loved the Olio Festival, so hats off to all the organizers who created the institution in such short order. And thanks for the submission, Ash!
Some vintage commercial artwork by George McLachlan, via his website. The first is a cover from a BCTel brochure cover titled “Communications”, believed to be from 1976. The acrylic painting shows a cluster of downtown skyscrapers, many of which were new modern additions to the city’s skyline.
The next illustration is a vintage pastel rendering of the Hyatt Odyssey Hotel in downtown Vancouver, which is now known as the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
And finally, a brochure for the grand opening of Woodward’s Food Floor at Arbutus Village, which is also flogging the Woodward’s credit card. This post prompted the submission of the last image from none other than Michael Kluckner, who still has his Woodward’s card! Woodward’s Arbutus Village Food Floor opened November 13, 1974; it is now a Safeway store.
Lots more to see in his archives, including this map which I had featured before, but was not able to completely attribute to him! Now updated!
Waldorf Hotel facelift, proposed by Claude Neon Limited, which I speculate is circa 1971, though I’m not certain. This image has been slightly retouched, original from kk’s photostream on flickr. As mentioned previously, the hotel was designed in 1947 by architects Mercer & Mercer, built in 1949, and opened in 1952, it was transformed as a “tiki”-themed bar and hotel in 1955. The hotel then sold in 1970 to the cook, Frank Puharich [source 1 & source 2]. The illustration reads:
Rough proposal for the facelift of the Waldorf Hotel
Fascia bond to be embossed bamboo to simulate a South Seas hut effect. The signage & wall graphics below the fascia bond to be the same effect as the current “Polynesian” signage. Under canopy illumination to be employed on the fascia bond.
The facelift of the front of the building to carry the theme created by the Polynesian dining room entrance.
Top portion of the building to be repainted.
From Heritage Vancouver Society’s top 10 list in 2010:
Claude George’s French company, Claude Neon, brought neon to North America in 1923. In 1924, George Sweeney and other local investors set up a company called Neon Products in Vancouver, to produce neon signs for Western Canada, which is still in business as part of the Jimmy Pattison empire. It would eventually become one of the largest sign companies in the world. Neon signs were eagerly sought after by Vancouver businesses and in 1953, Neon Products cited 19,000 neon signs in the city of Vancouver, one for every 18 residents. Today there are only a few dozen of the 19,000 vintage neon signs left…
There is a Love-In for the Waldorf happening TODAY at 2pm! More details from Facebook:
Press conference at 3 pm, mini food cart festival from 2-5, various musical acts and art performances by Vancouver luminaries, music by internationally renowned Vancouver artist & DJ Rodney Graham, Free Cereal Day for kids. Family friendly. All welcome!
Waldorf Hotel dining room Polynesian mural, basement level, via City of Vancouver archives CVA 1444-53.06 and an ebay postcard. You can see another angle of the dining room here. I have extruded the mural from the archives photo, and cut it into 3 pieces to show the complete mural with ‘relative’ accuracy, though it is unfortunately in black and white. I would be very curious to learn if better colour images of the complete mural exist somewhere, and
I do not know who the artist would have been I now know who the artist was - see below! I presume the mural is dated 1955 or thereabouts - close! It was 1957! Via BCLiving:
In 1953, a man named Bob Mills purchased eight black velvet paintings by Edgar Leeteg in Honolulu. When his wife declared she didn’t like them, Mills vowed to create a Tahitian cocktail lounge in Vancouver. And he did.
Seizing on the emerging obsession with Polynesian culture that was becoming trend at the time, Mills transformed his Waldorf Hotel as a “tiki”-themed bar and hotel in 1955, opening the cocktail lounge in full tiki style. Designed in 1947 by architects Mercer & Mercer in a modernist style, the East Vancouver hotel, beer parlour and basement restaurant’s new facelift was a huge hit.
Fifteen years later, in 1970, the Waldorf’s cook, Frank Puharich, purchased the hotel from the Mills family.
The future of the Waldorf hangs in the balance.
UPDATE! More secrets of the mural revealed! Actually, the name of the artist was posted in a good number of places which I just happened to miss. Thanks to an email from O.C. Dobrostanski, he informed me the artist was someone by the name of Hopkinson, Peter Hopkinson actually. Doby writes about Peter and the artwork:
He was hired by the hotel owner to paint the image and it probably took him a fairly long time. Apparently he lived at the hotel while he painted the mural. Marko Pucharich actually met the man as he had done some cleaning and restoration work on the mural years later (in the 1980s). The image was inspired by a 1950 set of nine murals (“History of Hawaii”) by artist Eugene Savage of Indiana that were installed on a cruise ship, the SS Lurline that toured between Seattle, Vancouver and Hawaii during the same period as the mural was painted at the Waldorf.
Doby had been called to repair the mural about 3 years ago, as the work was suffering from water damage, lime contamination from the plaster wall, cigarette smoke, and all around wear and tear. Again, Doby writes:
I went to view the mural and immediately realized that a full cleaning would have to be done before repairs were started. Decades of tobacco and polluted atmosphere- generated grime and some minor mechanical damages (tears and abrasions) were evident…I cleaned a small isolated patch of mural area and immediately saw the difference in the colour and tone clarity of the image where the sample cleaning was done.
I did the cleaning and restoration over a period of several weeks. I also called the Vancouver Museum and through their connections arranged for a specialty photographer to take an accurate photo of the work for the owner.
You can also see a more updated photo of the complete mural from 2010 in this photoset by Les Bazso of the Pacific Newspaper Group. And from this 2010 John Mackie article in the Vancouver Sun, we learn that Peter Hopkinson also did all the murals for Nat Bailey’s White Spot restaurants in the 1950s.
I find it remarkable how just a few details can provide valuable insights into the life of the artist, the work of art, and the era in which it was created. I hope this knowledge enhances our appreciation of the artwork and ultimately aids the preservation of the site.
Hotel Devonshire, a postcard by Edward Goodall. Here’s an archival photo almost from the same vantage point, or how it would have appeared from the old Hotel Vancouver. According to Emporis, construction began in 1923 and was completed in 1924; the building was designed by the prestigious McCarter & Nairne Partners. More facts:
- Demolished on July 5, 1981 at 7:05 a.m. with 100 kilograms of dynamite, along with the famous Cave nightclub, to make way for the HSBC Building.
- Opened as an apartment building for boarders, named The Devonshire Apartment Hotel.
The Burrard Motel, a vintage postcard by the Vancouver postcard artist Edward Goodall. This postcard shows the final design circa 1954; the hotel opened in 1956. I didn’t realize the Burrard Motel, now the Burrard Hotel is actually a trendy hip vintage midcentury modern mix of style and fashion, right in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Any hotel with an inner courtyard deserves some credit in my books!
2400 Court, a postcard of unknown vintage which appears to be signed by Christian Anderson, no relation to Hans Christian Andersen I presume.
A postcard for The York Hotel, 790 Howe Street, Vancouver. The York was featured on Changing Vancouver earlier this month. The Sears building designed by Cesar Pelli has taken it’s place. Soon, things are destined to change once again. Sears is planning to leave this building before Halloween of this year; then the building will get its makeover. Hooray!
Postcard acquired at All Nations Stamp and Coin, previously in the Bay on West Georgia Street, they’ve since moved to 5630 Dunbar.
The Cambie Hostel; a work in gouache, ink, arcylic, and wood from 2011, submitted by Natasha Shubaly.
Hotel Vancouver (#2) Canadian Pacific luggage label circa 1920s, via ebay. Looks similar to this previous post, but features a slightly different perspective.
Vintage felt pennant from Vancouver, BC (digital image montage) via ebay.
Early Hotel Vancouver pamphlet, lauded as one of the most modern hotels in the British Empire.