609 Gore Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A, Canada
Fan Tower Apartments
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Stratford Hotel at 609 Gore Avenue is a six-storey brick building comprising a row of retail stores on the ground floor with accommodation above. It is located at the southwest corner of Gore and Keefer Streets, at the southeastern edge of in the historic Chinatown district of Vancouver.
The heritage value of the Stratford Hotel, which was constructed in 1912, lies in its association with Vancouver's pre-World War I building boom, with changing standards in hotel construction in the City, and with its architects, Hugh Braunton and John Grant Liebert. At the edge of Chinatown, its location seems to have been incidental; the hotel promoted its location as central to transportation and civic facilities.
The hotel was built at a time when there was pressure for both short- and long-term accommodation in Vancouver. This was a product of a booming economy that attracted people and investment to the city, and civic initiatives that had closed sub-standard lodging houses and hotels. In the immediate area, the development of the Great Northern Railway yards to the south on the False Creek flats, and the construction of a Canadian Pacific Railway branch line just west of 'Shanghai Alley,' displaced existing Chinatown housing that required replacement with buildings further east, such the Stratford.
Designed by prominent architects Braunton and Liebert, the Edwardian commercial style is distinguished by the use of tan brick cladding capped with metal cornices, delineated pilasters and quoins that break up the considerable mass of the facades on Keefer and Gore, and bands of brick that emphasize the corner.
The size and layout of the Stratford are also significant. With 200 rooms (50 with bathrooms) it was large for the area. The Stratford's lightwells, bathrooms, and fire escapes demonstrate the concern with designing safe and healthy buildings in the early twentieth century. Civic bylaws established at this time regulated this design, and reflected the greater urban reform movement for safe and healthy buildings that swept across western Europe and North America. Subsequent changes in use included its conversion to a 'welfare hotel' in the 1960s, and in 1979-1981, its closure and re-opening with self-contained units. The building is now known as the Fan Tower Apartments.
Source: City of Vancouver, Heritage Planning Street Files
The character-defining elements of the Stratford Hotel include its:
- corner location, which is reinforced in the stone trim of the building
- mix of commercial use on the ground floor with accommodation above
- light wells and other features relating to the urban reform movement
- features associated with the design of architects Braunton and Liebert, and the Edwardian commercial style more generally, including the cornices, the tan brick trim, the quoins and pilasters, and other decorative details
City of Vancouver
Vancouver Charter, s.582
Community Heritage Register
1979/01/01 to 1981/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
Cross-Reference to Collection