Vancouver History: Mabel Ellen Boultbee

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Converted from apartments in 1929, The Ritz Hotel in Vancouver was located at 1040 West Georgia. Radio station CJOR started there in 1926, before moving out in 1930, and the building was demolished in 1982. [Source: Emporis]. The hotel had another prominent tenant whose name keeps coming up in relation to the property: Mabel Ellen Boultbee.

July 1947: View of the Ritz from West Georgia. Photographer: Don Coltman. Archives# CVA 586-4435.

Mabel Ellen Boultbee (née Springer) was born in 1875 along the shores of Moodyville and was actually the first white child ever born on Burrard Inlet. Her father was Benjamin Springer, manager of Moody’s Sawmill, and she was married to a Mr. Arthur Watkin St. John Boultbee of Winnipeg in May of 1912, but records show they were divorced.

In the 1890s she ran a school with her sister Eva and was a journalist for 30 years, writing for the Vancouver Sun’s women’s pages. [Source: Vancouver History].

1888: Grass tennis court at the Springer residence. Mabel is in this photo. Archives# Out P231.

Mabel was a prominent citizen and member of the Georgian Club. Her apartment at the Ritz Hotel, shared with Eva, was a gathering place for the city’s social elite of the 1930s and 1940s. She passed away at the Ritz in 1953, at the age of 77.

May 1974: Burrard and Alberni, with the Ritz on the north side. Archives# CVA 778-25.

Unfortunately my online database searches pull up more information about Mabel’s place of death than about her life and work so I found it was important to recognize her in whatever way I can.

For Women’s History Month read more about women in Vancouver History like Anna Ethel Sprott, Sister Frances, Doreen Reitsma, Pauline Johnson, and others.

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