New Columbia Hotel
303 Columbia Street, Vancouver , British Columbia, V6A, Canada
New Columbia Hotel
Links and documents
1910/01/01 to 1920/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The historic place at 303 Columbia Street is a six-storey brick hotel building at the southwest corner of Cordova and Columbia Streets, in the historic Gastown district. Formerly known as the Columbia Hotel, it is now the New Columbia Hotel.
The New Columbia Hotel reflects the importance of single male workers to British Columbia's resource-based economy, while the timing of its construction in the early twentieth century coincides with the expansion of this aspect of the province's economy and illustrates Vancouver's place as the metropolitan centre, serving an extensive hinterland. The hotel use, especially where it is combined with a ground floor beer parlour as it is here, is a typical use in this neighbourhood.
The New Columbia Hotel formed part of the loggers' annual 'round' of activity and served as home to single male resource workers who lived here between jobs in the bush. One logger, who lived at the Columbia in the years after 1945, described the routine: "Sometime in November, people from the logging camps came in and stayed for the winter. That's what I used to do: come in November and stay all winter in the Columbia Hotel. In the spring you went back to logging. Most of the entertainment was in the beer parlour, or a wild woman once in a while."
Part of the heritage value of the New Columbia Hotel is found in its evolution as a structure. The existing building consists of two parts built at different times. The southern part, which is three storeys, was built sometime between 1910-1920. The northern section, which is six storeys high, was built between 1925-1950.
Another aspect of the heritage value of the New Columbia Hotel is found in its unsavoury reputation and civic efforts to enforce liquor laws in the beer parlour. These problems were not unique to the New Columbia and form part of the history of the neighbourhood. In the 1990s, the New Columbia, like other similar hotels in Gastown, was converted to a tourist hotel.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The character-defining elements of the New Columbia Hotel include:
- corner location
- two-stage construction occupying the entire lot, with the three-storey building set next to the taller six-storey building
- brick construction with stone trim
- type of windows - rectangular sash windows (one over one) with stone sills
- arrangement of windows with division into bays with two windows each, divided by a pilaster or pier from the second to the sixth storey
- use of cornice to delineate and emphasize the roof in the taller portion of the building
- ground floor arrangement into bays
- materials employed on the ground floor, typical of hotel construction for the era
- external fire escape
- upper-storey residential use
- ground floor use for public assembly, including the beer parlour
- difference in scale and architecture between northern and southern sections of the building
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Charter, s.582
Community Heritage Register
1925/01/01 to 1950/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Cross-Reference to Collection