Vancouver Icons: Hotel Europe

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Vancouver has a few triangle-shaped buildings but none are as prominent and photographed as the Hotel Europe across from Maple Tree Square in Gastown making it today’s Vancouver Icon photo feature.

Hotel Europe Hotel Europe
(Left) 1908 – Completed Hotel Europe. Archives #HotP17. (Right) 1910s – Archives #M-11-32.

Hotel Europe
1960s – Archives #CVA 1135-57.

1970s – Arhives #CVA 780-508.

Our very own Flatiron Building was commissioned by hotelier Angelo Calori and completed in 1909 – Manhattan’s was complete in 1902.

“In 1886 he started construction of the Europe Hotel and built a large addition in 1890. In 1908 he added another section—the first concrete building in Vancouver.” These dates are at odds with the generally accepted date of construction: 1908-09. The building still stands in Gastown, with fine stonework, glass and a marble main floor. [Vancouver History]

Walking Tour of Gastown & Chinatown

Designed by Parr and Fee (probably Vancouver’s most prolific architects), it displays almost none of their trademarks. Instead it borrows from Daniel Burnham’s Flatiron Building in Manhattan, completed in 1902. This is particularly true in the twin column window design on the ‘point’ of the building. It was built by the Ferro-Concrete Construction Company who were brought in from Cincinnati. They had built the first tall reinforced concrete building in 1902, and the hotel is among the first reinforced concrete buildings in the city (and possibly the oldest). [Changing Vancouver]

Flatiron in black and white
Photo credit: Eyesplash A very Happy 2013 to you on Flickr

ghost riders
Photo credit: shockk on Flickr

Night hotel Europe
Photo credit: AntonTeterine on Flickr

Maple Leaf Square and the Europe Hotel at Night
Photo credit: BillXu Photos on Flickr

Photo credit: Lisa Nixon on Flickr

Maple Tree Square, Vancouver
Photo credit: Bill Xu on Flickr

Gassy Jack
Photo credit: Basedigital Images (Away…) on Flickr


The hotel was renovated in 1983 to convert it into to affordable living space. Today it provides 84 units of non-market housing.

Other Vancouver Icons posts include: Lions Gate Bridge Lions, LightShed, Granville Bridge, 217.5 Arc x 13′, Canoe Bridge, Vancouver Block, Bloedel Conservatory, Centennial Rocket, Canada Place, Old Courthouse/Vancouver Art Gallery, Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.

1 Comment  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. fotoeins | HenryWednesday, February 13th, 2013 — 12:58pm PST

    B., I love this series; thanks for writing about this unique building and its heritage.

    Here are a few suggestions, if you haven’t already covered them!

    * Sam Kee Building in Chinatown. My dad and I used to call it the “Jack Chow” building for the insurance company.
    * Lumberman’s Arch (Whoi Whoi)
    * H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Vanier Park
    * Pacific Central Station (CNR), at Main and Terminal
    * Waterfront Station (CPR), at West Cordova and Seymour
    * Burrard Street Bridge
    * Ironworkers Memorial Bridge (Second Narrows Bridge)
    * “The Drop” sculpture at the Convention Centre
    * The Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza
    * I’d consider the SeaBus to be a long-time icon and faithful servant to the region …

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