The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

The Hotel Vancouver (branded currently as the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver) is a hotel located on West Georgia Street and Burrard Street, in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.


Constructed at 111 metres (17 stories) high, its architects were John S. Archibald and John Schofield. It became part of the Canadian Pacific Hotels chain after that company purchased CN Hotels in 1988. CP Hotels was later renamed to Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

This building is the third hotel to be named "Hotel Vancouver". The second Hotel Vancouver, this building's predecessor a block away, was built in 1916, and became a troop barracks during the Second World War, and was finally torn down in 1949 to fulfill a commitment made by the city with the developers of the third Hotel Vancouver to demolish it - as the new hotel's design was not as lavish and impressive, and the older hotel was perceived to be too much of a potential rival. The second hotel was in a grand Italianate revival style, and was considered one of the great hotels of the British Empire. In the time of this building the names of the Spanish Grill (a cafe-restaurant), the Panorama Roof (and dine-and-dance show club), the Timber Club (a drinking lounge), the Pacific Empire Ballroom, and the Red Barrel (a beer parlour) became famous as part of the city's social whirl (names that are used by facilities in the third Hotel Vancouver). It had several ballrooms and lounges, as well as an adjacent opera house cum cinema (originally the Orpheum, later restyled the Lyric), and all the bathrooms were fitted with marble sinks and gold-plate faucetry.

The first two Hotel Vancouvers were between Howe and Granville Streets on the south side of West Georgia Street. The current building, a block away across the fountain plaza of the then-provincial courthouse and on the same side of Georgia, opened in May 1939.

Until the opening of the CBC Regional Broadcast Centre in the 1970s, the offices and broadcast studios of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Vancouver bureau were on the mezzanine floor of the hotel, overlooking the corner of Hornby and Georgia. A large art-deco sound stage used for radio theatre and musical broadcasts was located on the ground floor, with an entrance off Hornby Street.

It was here, in the Panorama Roof Ballroom, that Dal Richards, the legendary Canadian big band leader, known as the King of Swing, began his career that spans decades. On May 1, 1940 young Dal Richards, his 11-piece band and a then-unknown 13-year-old Juliette were booked to replace Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen, Canada's leading dance band at the time. No-one could have known that Dal's initial six-week contract would stretch into 25 years of regular performances and broadcasts at "The Roof". A weekly CBC Radio show was broadcast nationally from the Panorama Roof Ballroom of the Hotel Vancouver for many years.

In pop culture

  • The hotel serves as the exterior of the Tipton Hotel on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
  • The hotel was featured prominently in the Vancouver level in Tony Hawk's Underground.

Photo gallery

  • Georgia Street facade of the Hotel Vancouver; the large windows are those of the Empire Ballroom

  • Hotel Vancouver detail

  • Gargoyles

  • Hotel Vancouver and the city of Vancouver

Building Activity

  • removed 2 media
    about 6 years ago via