210 Abbott Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada
Links and documents
1900/01/01 to 1901/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Dominion Hotel is a three-storey masonry commercial building occupying the southeast corner of Abbott and Water Streets in the historic district of Gastown.
Gastown is the historic core of Vancouver, and is the city's earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings and warehouses. The Dominion Hotel is valued as an early Gastown hotel, originally located above a commercial ground floor space, 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 Dominion Hotel is valued for its architecture as a fine example of the late use of the Victorian Italianate style, dating from the very end of the Victorian era. The exterior also exhibits characteristics of the emerging Romanesque Revival, reflected in the repetitive use of round-headed window openings and illustrating how popular architectural styles were used by the hotel business to market a progressive image. The parged pilasters and window arches set against the red brick walls create a commanding street presence.
The name of the hotel, now in continuous use for over a century, is a demonstration of the significance of Gastown as the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which linked the provinces of the Dominion of Canada from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans. The building itself was known as the Sherdahl Block after its original owner, merchant Swain Sherdahl, who operated a department store on the ground floor.
This building is also significant as a surviving design by architect Emil Guenther (born 1855), who had a brief but notable career in New Westminster and Vancouver. Prominent early Vancouver builders Theodore 'Granite' Horrobin (1861-1919) and J.P. Halden were responsible for its construction.
Source: City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files
The character-defining elements of the Dominion Hotel 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
- rectangular plan, flat roof, prominent scale and cubic massing
- masonry construction: red brick on two main facades with raised tooled mortar joints; common red brick on rear and side facades; and parged continuous beltcourses and pilasters
- architectural features of the Victorian Italianate style such as a bracketed cornice at parapet level, with paired brackets at each pilaster
- upper floor arched window surrounds with keystones, joined by running beltcourses
- double-hung 1-over-1 wood-sash windows with round-headed top sash, on the upper floors
- continuous sheet metal cornice above the rectangular storefront openings
- chamfered corner entry with surviving arch and keystone detail
- entry to upper floors on Abbott Street, marked at parapet level with name plaque with raised letters 'Sherdahl Block'
- heavy timber frame interior structure
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Charter, s.593
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
Architect / Designer
Horrobin and Haldin
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files
Cross-Reference to Collection