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Yale Hotel

1300 Granville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/11/21

Exterior view of the Yale Hotel; City of Vancouver, 2007
Front (Granville Street) facade
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Other Name(s)

Yale Hotel
Colonial Hotel

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1888/01/01 to 1889/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Yale Hotel is a three-storey Second Empire-style building, located at the corner of Granville and Drake Streets. The building is located at the north foot of the Granville Street Bridge at the entrance of the Granville street commercial district, and is distinguished by its bellcast mansard roof, gabled dormer windows, and round arched windows.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Yale Hotel lies in its historical, associative, and architectural significance.

The Yale Hotel is significant as one of the oldest surviving buildings in Vancouver and for its association with the development of Yaletown. Construction of the building began in 1888 and was completed in 1889. Constructed as the Colonial Hotel, it was among a very small number of structures to be built on Granville Street during Vancouver's formative years. Yaletown was the working class neighbourhood populated by workers who moved to Vancouver in the 1880s to service and build the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The Colonial Hotel provided low-priced accommodation for CPR workers and became known as the centre of the notorious Yaletown nightlife. The hotel was also built in association with the construction of the first Granville Street Bridge in 1889, and served travellers between Vancouver and Richmond.

The associative value of the Yale Hotel lies in its construction by its original owner, real estate developer James Wellington Horne (1853-1923), who owned more land in the downtown area than any single other person, second only to the CPR. By 1890, only four years after his arrival in Vancouver, Horne had built major brick blocks on most of Vancouver's principal streets. Horne held public office in 1888-90 as a city alderman, and from 1890 to 1894 held a seat in the provincial legislature.

The Yale Hotel is additionally valued for its handsome Second Empire architecture, designed by Noble Stonestreet Hoffar (1843-1907). One of Vancouver’s first architects, Hoffar made a considerable contribution to the evolution of the city between 1886 and the mid 1890s with his design and construction of many of the city's largest and most substantial structures. The Yale Hotel is a simplified example of Second Empire architecture, which typifies the increasingly elaborate and monumental appearance of architecture towards the end of the nineteenth century. In Eastern Canada and the United States, the mansard roof was closely associated with hotel accommodation; as Hoffar was American-born, he would have been familiar with the popular styles in Eastern Canada and the United States. The hotel is also associated with architect W.T. Whiteway (1856-1940), who was commissioned to design the addition to the east in 1909. Whiteway arrived in Vancouver at the time of the Great Fire and worked in Vancouver from 1886-1887, then followed other building booms in the United States and Canada before returning to Vancouver, where he became one of the leading local architects.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the Yale Hotel’s Second Empire architectural design include its:

- construction to the front and side property lines with no setback
- form, scale and massing, as expressed by its three-storey height, cubic shape, and four-storey, irregular plan of the rear addition
- Second Empire style detailing, including its mansard roof with a series of gabled dormers
- masonry construction of the original hotel, with a rubblestone foundation and polychromatic red brick cladding with yellow brick detailing (quoining, arched window crowns and patterned brickwork around the entire building at the cornice)
- masonry construction of the rear addition, with a scored concrete foundation and rough-dressed sandstone window sills
- regular and symmetrical fenestration of the original section, with round-headed windows and projecting window hoods
- regular and asymmetrical fenestration of the rear addition, including some original 1-over-1 double hung wooden sash windows and first storey side elevation windows with transoms, and transoms over the rear fire escape doors

Key elements that define the Yale Hotel’s location include its:

- east-sloping corner location at Granville and Drake Streets
- orientation to the Granville Street Bridge and the beginning of the Granville Street commercial district
- orientation to historic Yaletown



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.582

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

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

Noble Stonestreet Hoffar



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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