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Hotel Metropole

320 Abbott Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/01/14

Exterior view of the Hotel Metropole, 2004; City of Vancouver, 2004
Front facade
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Other Name(s)

Hotel Metropole
Travellers Hotel

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/04/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Hotel Metropole is a five-storey masonry commercial building occupying part of the east side of the 300 block of Abbott Street, with a secondary frontage on the mid-block alley, in the historic Gastown district of downtown Vancouver. It is distinctive for its two formal facades, on Abbott Street and the alley, and a prominent projecting cornice.

Heritage Value

Gastown is the historic core of Vancouver, and is the city's earliest, most historic area of commercial buildings and warehouses. The Gastown historic district retains a consistent and distinctive built form that is a manifestation of successive economic waves that occurred prior to the First World War. The area is recognized as the birthplace of Vancouver, and was pivotal in the first twenty-five years of the city's history and represents a formative period in Canada's economic development. The Hotel Metropole is valued as an early Gastown hotel, 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 served a combined function of providing lodging on the upper floors, while commercial space on the ground floor contributed to the lively street life in Gastown.

Built in 1910, The Hotel Metropole is valued as an example of the classically inspired architecture of the Edwardian era, illustrating how popular styles were used by the hotel business to market a progressive image. The exterior exhibits a classically-proportioned, tripartite articulation, as reflected in the granite plinth, brick pilasters at ground level, stone stringcourses, regular fenestration and projecting metal cornice.

Originally, this building was known as the Travellers Hotel; there was a Metropole Hotel located across the street. When the original Metropole was demolished in the mid-1920s to allow for the expansion of Woodward's Department Store, the Travellers appropriated this venerable name.

In the 1930s the original storefronts were altered with the insertion of a series of Gothic-inspired entry doors and sidelights, reflecting the traditional historicism that was again popular in the period between the two world wars. These alterations marked a change in attitude and liquor policy, when drinking establishments such as this one turned inwards and no longer were allowed to have open windows facing the street.

The Hotel Metropole is further valued for its association with its architect, W.T. Whiteway (1856-1940). Whiteway arrived in Vancouver at the time of the Great Fire of 1886 and worked in Vancouver from 1886 to 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. The contractor for the Hotel Metropole was J.M. McLuckie, a pioneer Vancouver contractor who became well-known for numerous commercial and residential commissions. The hotel was an investment property that was originally owned by Dr. Robert Clarke Boyle (1869-1926), a prominent physician and surgeon in Vancouver and president of the Vancouver Medical Association.

Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Hotel Metropole include its:
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its five-storey block form with no setbacks, a full basement and flat roof
- prominent corner location with two formal facades, with the primary facade facing Abbott Street and a secondary facade facing the service alley
- the historic mixed use of street level commercial space with lodging on the upper floors
- original Edwardian era architectural elements, including: large projecting sheet metal cornice on two facades; masonry construction such as granite foundation, brick facade and stone string-courses at each storey; and regular fenestration, with wooden sash windows resembling the original double-hung sash
- elements relating to the 1930s alterations, including Gothic pointed-arches and stained glass windows
- surviving interior details, such as the mosaic floor in the interior ground floor
- basement-level areaway with glass prisms in the Abbott Street sidewalk



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


Multiple Dwelling


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn
Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

W.T. Whiteway


J.M. McLuckie

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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