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Leland Hotel

92 4th Avenue SW, Nakusp, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2010/02/23

Leland Hotel, 2009; Village of Nakusp, 2009
front view
Leland Hotel, 1920s; Village of Nakusp, 2009
front view, archival
No Image

Other Name(s)

Leland Hotel
Rathwell House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2011/11/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Leland Hotel is a large three-storey wood-frame commercial structure overlooking Arrow Lake in Nakusp, British Columbia.

Heritage Value

The Leland Hotel's significance lies in its association with transportation and economic development in the West Kootenays and with the settlement and evolution of the Village of Nakusp for over a century. Commenced in 1892 and significantly expanded in 1897, it is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in British Columbia. The mining boom of the early 1890s led the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to create the townsite of Nakusp in 1892. That same year the provincial government commissioned a wagon road from Nakusp to Three Forks and the Columbia Transportation Company was formed to provide boat service on the Arrow Lakes. Plans were laid for a railway from Nakusp to Three Forks. The new town of Nakusp boomed and five hotels were built in short order. The Leland Hotel, for a short time called Rathwell House, was the second erected. It served the railway workers, merchants, and shipbuilding crews who poured into the new town but had nowhere to live.

In 1897 the modest false-fronted structure of the Leland Hotel was expanded significantly with the construction of two three-storey gabled wings to accommodate crews building CPR steamboats at the Nakusp shipyards. The Leland Hotel became a social centre for the village, with a restaurant and separate men's and ladies' beer parlours.

The Leland Hotel is also valued for its architecture, which reflects the evolution of the hotel over its lifetime. Originally a simple two-storey wood-framed structure with two side gables, the hotel was significantly expanded in 1897 to include a three-storey end-gabled addition and a second three-storey hipped-roof section, both facing the waterfront. Dormer windows were added to the original structure and bay windows were incorporated into the additions. An upstairs balcony was also added. In the 1920s plate glass windows were added to the dining room, and the veranda and garden were expanded. The original massing of the hotel has been retained.

Source: Village of Nakusp Municipal Office, 91-1st Street NW, Nakusp, B.C. V0G 1R0

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Leland Hotel include its:
- scale and massing as a wood-framed three-storey end-gabled and hipped-roof hotel building
- south facing false front and two side-gabled additions
- balcony and veranda
- windows, including dormer, bay and plate glass types
- prominent location overlooking the lake



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)

1897/01/01 to 1897/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation
Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations
Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration
Peopling the Land
Developing Economies

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer



R. Dark

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Village of Nakusp Municipal Office, 91-1st Street NW, Nakusp, B.C. V0G 1R0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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