Thursday, October 23, 2008
The Sylvia was designed as an apartment building by Mr. W.P. White, a Seattle architect. It was built in 1912 by Booker, Campbell and Whipple Construction Company for a Mr. Goldstein, who had a daughter named Sylvia. During the Depression the Sylvia Court Apartments fell on hard times, and in 1936 the building was converted into an apartment hotel. With the advent of World War II, many of the suites were converted to rooms, in order to provide accommodation for the merchant-marine crews.
After the war the number of permanent residents in the hotel gradually decreased, until by the sixties the Sylvia had become a completely transient full-service hotel. In 1954 it opened the first cocktail bar in Vancouver. Until 1958 the Sylvia Hotel was the tallest building in the West End. A well known landmark, its brick and terra-cotta extension softened by the Virginia creeper that now completely covers the Gilford Street side of the hotel.
In 1975 the Sylvia was designated by the City of Vancouver as a heritage building, thereby ensuring its survival for many years to come.