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Palace Hotel

275 Skinner Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/10/07

Exterior view of the Palace Hotel, 2004; City of Nanaimo, Christine Meutzner, 2004
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Palace Hotel is a two-storey, brick, Italianate style building located in Nanaimo's downtown core. The historic place is confined to the building footprint.

Heritage Value

Built in 1889, the Palace Hotel is a very good example of the Italianate style, one of the most popular nineteenth century styles in North America. The Palace Hotel was one of the earliest of the new type of hotels that was built during this era. It marks the beginning of a transition from the City's early rough, pioneer type architecture to a more refined and elegant style. Although there have been numerous renovations over the years, the building retains much of its original character.

The Palace Hotel represents the economic boom that was generated by the completion of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway and the expansion of the No. 1 Coal Mine in the 1880s. This handsome, ornate brick building speaks to the mood of prosperity and possibility prevalent at the time.

The Palace Hotel represents the social importance of hotels in Nanaimo history. Like most mining communities, early Nanaimo had a large population of single, often transient, men. As affordable housing alternatives, hotels functioned as living quarters and, in the saloons and restaurants typically located on the ground floor, as social centres.

The value of the Palace Hotel lies in its location at the bend of a curvilinear, narrow lane that intersects with the main downtown thoroughfare. The view to the Palace Hotel is framed by landmark historic structures on the main street. The hotel itself partially closes the vista from the main street and acts to create a feeling of intimacy and seclusion.

Source: City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department, file #6800-20-H01-02/275 Skinner Street

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements of the Palace Hotel include:

-all the elements of Italianate style as expressed in the vertical proportions, simple form and massing, symmetrical facade, brick cladding and detailing, tall, narrow double hung wooden sash windows, molded window hoods, substantial cornice and the painted swag ribbon sign.

-the location of the building at the bend of a narrow, curvilinear street, visible from the main street of the downtown core.



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

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
Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department, file #6800-20-H01-02/275 Skinner Street

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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