The Neumann Collection


Commercial Hotel

Posted by neumann32044 on June 13, 2014 at 11:50 AM

The Commercial Hotel, at 340 Cambie Street in downtown Vancouver was the original owner of some of the oldest pieces in my collection, a butter pat and a creamer which date from the hotel's opening, around 1897.  While I could tell the story of this hotel, it has already been extensively researched by the current pub owners, Pub 340, as well as at, and through the lens of photographer Fred Herzog.  Here are some images that I've gathered from across the web:

This image is tentatively attributed to 1895 by the Vancouver Archives, though I believe that it dates to two years later, when I first found records of the hotel being advertised.  It was taken from beside the Vancouver Courthouse (now the site of Victory Square) and shows the building in its full, original glory.  It stands regally with its intact pediment and flagpole, without its neighbour the Flack Block, which would be constructed in 1899.

This shot was taken in 1938, and shows how the facade has been altered to accomodate a  ladies entrance.  The tall windows are still framed by elegant drapes, and the front of the hotel is still unobscured by the large awning that appears in Herzog's aforementioned image, and its current state.  Note the barber shop in the tiny space between the hotel and the Flack Block.  The neighbouring Bailey Cafe still has the cupola atop the corner of the building as well.

This Google street view image was taken in 2012 and demonstrates how the front was butchered in the 1970s when it was renovated with a Spanish theme and called the "El Cid Hotel"  The original entrance on the right has been bricked up, shrinking the windows, and the upstairs rooms show evidence of rounded arches.  Note the new Woodwards development in the background.

This somewhat blurry image shows a close up of the original logo found on china from the hotel, and is reminiscent of the economy of the time.  The hotel is located close to the CPR station, and was built to accomodate travellers, and later those who worked in the resource sectors, like mining and logging.  While its difficult to make out in this image, there is also some tall trees and a small cabin with animals.

The imagery from the logo is also reminiscent of this staged photo of logging near Denman Street by English Bay.  Men and dogs are posed near a low cabin with a background of tall trees.  When the Commercial Hotel was built, most of the downtown peninsula was already cleared, but development was just starting to creep to other areas off the current downtown area.

These three ads from the Victoria newspaper, The British Colonist, were printed in (from top to bottom ) 1897, 1898, and 1907.

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