Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
1887 - current
The Canadian Pacific Railway built their first Hotel Vancouver in 1887. It was a
five-storey brick and stone structure. The railway later built a much larger hotel
on the corner of Georgia and Granville in downtown Vancouver, designed by
Francis Swales.This hotel was finally demolished in the late 1940s, about ten years
after the current Hotel Vancouver was completed at Georgia and Burrard in time for
the Royal visit in 1939.
The hotel at Georgia and Granville hosted some of the earliest art exhibitions in
Vancouver, as there were very few other places to exhibit in Vancouver at that time.
Artists known to have exhibited in that hotel include John Innes
in 1915 and John Vanderpant in 1925. In 1929 the hotel hosted
the first annual Beaux Arts Ball, sponsored and organized by the students of the
newly formed Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts.
The CPR hired a number of Vancouver artists to provide sculptures,
murals, panels, and paintings for the current hotel, completed in
1939. It was an excellent opportunity for local artists to complete
major commissions. Artists known to have done work for this
iteration of the hotel include Olea Marion
Montgomery Davis, Lilias Farley,
and Valentin Shabaeff.
Detail, bas-relief in lobby of Hotel Vancouver, photo Stuart Thomson.
Unfortunately, later renovations to the hotel
covered over many of the original artworks in the main floor lobby, particularly relief
panels by Beatrice Lennie, which are considered by many to be one
of Vancouver's most famous "lost" artworks. The panels may actually still be in place,
hidden behind the new facade. Perhaps a future renovation will uncover them again.
Building The West - Early Architects of British Columbia
2003; Edited by Donald Luxton, numerous contributing authors and researchers
Talonbooks, ISBN 0-88922-474-9
560 pages, extensively illustrated in black and white, some colour
Biographies of over 400 architects and firms; extensive bibliography
Numerous references to, and photographs of, the three Hotel Vancouvers