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Fortin Building

57 West Cordova Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/01/14

Exterior view of the Fortin Building; City of Vancouver, 2004
Front elevation
No Image
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Other Name(s)

Fortin Building
Fortin Hotel
Rob Roy Hotel
Travellers Hotel

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Fortin Building is a four storey plus lower level masonry Edwardian era hotel building, located on the north side of West Cordova Street in the historic district of Gastown.

Heritage Value

Gastown is the historic core of Vancouver, and is the city's earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings and warehouses. Built in 1909, the Fortin Building is valued as an early Gastown rooming house, representative of the area's seasonal population in the early twentieth century, 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 Fortin Building is valued for its architecture as a fine example of Edwardian era design, illustrating how popular architectural styles were used by the hotel business to market a progressive image. It shared a party wall with the adjacent building to the west, the Sullivan Block, designed in 1896 by John Edmeston Parr. When the Sullivan Block was demolished, the party wall, and the front structural pier with its granite blocks, brick and cornice detailing was left in place and survives today as a remnant feature from this earlier building. Although the Fortin Building was built in 1909, the sign band displays the date 1893, which refers to an earlier structure.

The Fortin Building is valued for its association with the prominent architectural firm of Grant and Henderson. George William Grant (1852-1925) and Alexander Ernest Henderson (1872-1927) exhibited stylistic versatility, ranging from a variety of Arts and Crafts-styled residences to many institutional, industrial and commercial structures.

Source: City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Fortin Building include:
- spatial relationship to other late Victorian and Edwardian era commercial buildings, in close proximity to the waterfront of Burrard Inlet and the Canadian Pacific Railway yard
- form, scale and massing as expressed by its flat roof, rectangular plan with side airshafts, verticality and symmetry
- siting on the property lines, with no setbacks
- paired three storey high bay windows on the front facade
- masonry construction: white glazed brick cladding on the front facade, with narrow mortar joints; and common red brick cladding on the side and rear facades
- segmental arched window openings on the rear facade
- sheet metal cornices and brackets between the ground and first floor and at the parapet level
- recessed entry with granite threshold and mosaic tile inset
- horizontal sign band above storefront with raised metal letters 'Fortin Building 1893'
- remnant structural pier and party wall from the 1896 Sullivan Block to the west



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

City of Vancouver

Recognition Statute

Vancouver Charter, s.593

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

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

Grant and Henderson



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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