The Old Cecil

LGN 499 - [Y.M.C.A. buildings on Hastings Street near Cambie Street] 189--2

LGN 499 – [Y.M.C.A. buildings on Hastings Street near Cambie Street] 189-. I believe that one of the two buildings to the right of the brick YMCA building (probably the lighter-coloured one two doors to the right) was later home to the Southern/old Cecil Hotels. (The brick YMCA would ultimately be remodelled to become the Astoria Hotel. It wasn’t the last YMCA-owned property that would be repurposed as a hotel).

I refer in this post to the “old” Cecil Hotel (on the north side of 100 block West Hastings Street) to help distinguish it from the newer Cecil Hotel with which most Vancouver contemporaries are probably more aware – the one formerly on Granville near Drake Street (demolished in 2010 for the Rolston condo tower).

It isn’t clear  to me how many rooms were available to let in the old Cecil, but almost certainly fewer than 10. The proprietress during the time it was known as the Cecil, ca1905-09, was Mrs. Fanny Grieve. (In earlier years (ca1901-04), when the establishment was known as “The Southern”, a Mrs. McLusky was owner/manager.) I cannot trace Mrs. Grieve beyond mention made of her in Vancouver Directories  in connection with the old Cecil.*

As far as I can determine based on period photos and on Vancouver directories, the building which housed the Southern/Cecil rooms didn’t exist as such before the turn of the century. (Although the photo above indicates that the buildings were there as early as the late 1880s – probably initially used as single family dwellings or, perhaps, as un-named rooming houses). I don’t know what the inscription on the top of the building adjacent to the older, wood-frame Y is or signifies: “Elute”? “Clute”?

The building that housed the old Cecil didn’t seem to endure long after 1909. It was replaced by the Selkirk block, evidently, around that time. The Selkirk was ultimately replaced by one of several Woodward’s department store extensions. Today, the former Cecil/Selkirk/Woodward’s property is occupied in part by SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 5.38.30 PM

Ad in Vancouver Tourism Guide. 1905.

 Notes

*For more details about Fanny Grieve, see the comment below from Changing City.

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2 Responses to The Old Cecil

  1. ChangingCity says:

    It’s likely that Fanny was born in Ontario in 1860, married in 1882 and was still in Huron in Ontario with her husband, Hugh, in 1891. She was helping him run a boarding house in Cowichan in 1901 (when the census called her Fannie). She was born Fanny Fowler, and had two daughters, Agnes and Mona. (Only Mona is recorded in the 1901 census), The family seem to have moved away, but retained ties to the city as Mona was married in Vancouver in 1920, and died in New Westminster in 1982.

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