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Terminus Hotel

28-38 Water Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/01/14

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Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Terminus Hotel is a three-storey brick facade, supported by steel braces, located mid-block on the south side of Water Street 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. The Gastown historic district retains a consistent and distinctive built form that is a manifestation of successive economic waves that followed the devastation of the Great Fire in 1886, the arrival of the CPR railway in 1887, the Klondike Gold Rush and the western Canadian boom that occurred prior to the First World War. The area is recognized as the birthplace of Vancouver, and was pivotal in the first twenty-five years of the city's history and represents a formative period in Canada's economic development.

The Terminus Hotel is valued as an early Gastown hotel, representative of the area's seasonal population in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, 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 name, Terminus, represents the significance of Gastown as the terminus of the CPR. The current structure is the third at this site named Terminus, which celebrated with its name, the establishment of the new Pacific Coast terminus of Canada's first transcontinental railway.

The Terminus Hotel is also significant as a design by architect Emil Guenther, who had designed the nearby Sherdahl Block/Dominion Hotel the previous year. The facade design is highly eclectic, and marks a transitional point between the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Planning Files

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Terminus Hotel include its:
- mid-block location, near the original shoreline of Burrard Inlet, overlooking the original railyard and harbour
- three storey scale of facade
- three double-height projecting bay windows with flared roofs
- the name 'Terminus Hotel' in the pediment
- sheet metal cornice at the parapet level
- double-hung wooden-sash 1-over-1 windows
- large open storefront openings on the ground floor
- cast iron columns



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.593

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer

Emil Guenther



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Files

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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