This two-part series features some of the earliest Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) hotels in British Columbia. Many of these hotels have since closed down but formed an important part of early Canadian railway history. In previous blog posts, we profiled the two largest surviving CPR hotels in B.C.: Hotel Vancouver and the Empress Hotel.

Mount Stephen House, Glacier House, and Fraser Canyon were the first three hotels developed by Canadian Pacific Railways in BC. Because it was difficult to bring dining cars through mountainous areas, the hotels were initially intended as “dining stations”. These three “chalet” style hotels were designed by the architect Thomas Sorby and had very similar designs, each with six or seven bedrooms.


Mount Stephen House

Mount Stephen House was a small hotel located in Field, British Columbia. Shortly after opening in the fall of 1886, it was described in a Canadian Pacific Railway pamphlet:

The Mount Stephen house, a pretty chalet-like hotel, is situated fifty miles west of Banff, in Kicking Horse Canon, at the base of Mount Stephen — the chief peak of the Rockies in this latitude, whose stupendous mass is lifted abruptly 8,000 feet above. This is a favorite stopping-place for tourists and mountain climbers, and there is good fly fishing for trout in a pretty lake nearby, and “big horns” and mountain goats are found in the vicinity…This is a favorite region for artists, the lights and shadows on the near and distant mountains giving especially interesting subjects for the brush.

The Canadian Pacific : the new highway to the east across the mountains, prairies & rivers of Canada, 1888, p. 51.

The nearby Mount Stephen was named after George Stephen, the Canadian Pacific Railway’s first president.

Here are some images of the hotel from our collections:

“Mount Stephen” house field, [between 1880 and 1891?], from photograph album.

C.P.R. Hotel and Mt. Stephen, Field, [between 1886 and 1906], from photograph album.

Banff and the lakes in the clouds reached by the Canadian Pacific Railway, [1886?], p. 20.

 

Mount Stephen House was expanded in 1901-1902 to accommodate more guests, as shown in this illustration:

Yoho Valley in the Canadian Rockies and the glaciers of the Selkirks, 1903, p. 4.

 

This excerpt from a 1903 pamphlet describes the reconstruction, designed by Francis Rattenbury—the same architect who designed the Empress Hotel:

The increasing popularity of Field, as its attractions have become better known, necessitated greater accommodation than the old Mt. Stephen House afforded. The result has been the erection of a new chalet hotel of the same name with much greater accommodation, suites of rooms with private baths, billiard room and the same admirable service which is characteristic of the Canadian Pacific Mountain hotels. It has a livery in connection where carriages, pack and saddle horses can be secured at moderate rates, and outfits of cooks and porters are also available. There is also a dark room at the disposal of guests for development of photographs. The rates range from $3.00 to $5.50 per day, with special arrangements for those making prolonged visits.

– Yoho Valley in the Canadian Rockies and the glaciers of the Selkirk, 1903, p. 4.

The hotel closed in 1918 and was converted into a YMCA, which was demolished in 1963.


Glacier House

Glacier House opened in summer 1887 in Glacier National Park. Pamphlets in the Chung Collection list the hotel as open seasonally, during the summer months.

Here are some photographs of the hotel:

Glacier House among the Selkirks, [between 1890 and 1899?].

Canadian Pacific Railway bulletin, 1919, p. 6.

 

The hotel was surrounded by the beautiful Selkirk Mountains:

Prior, Melton. The Selkirk Mountain Range, near the Glacier House and the Loop, British Columbia, 1888.

 

In the 1890s, the hotel hired Swiss guides to show tourists safely through the mountains, pictured here:

Banff in the Canadian Rockies and the glaciers of the Selkirks, 1890, p. 4.

 

Guests could participate in “splendid Alpine climbing and glacier exploring, driving, riding, and hiking.” This pamphlet shows some of the activities and sites at Glacier that were advertised to tourists:

Resorts in the Canadian Pacific Rockies, 1922, p. 19-20.

 

Due to its popularity, Glacier House had to be expanded twice—in 1892 and 1904—to accommodate demand. However, before they could expand the hotel, overflow guests slept in a sleeper car parked outside!

After rail service to the hotel was terminated in 1917, Glacier House closed in 1926, and the building was demolished in 1929.


Fraser Canyon House

The western-most of the first three CPR hotels in British Columbia, Fraser Canyon House, opened in summer 1887 in North Bend.

Here is an image of the hotel from a 1904 pamphlet:

The challenge of the mountains, 1904, p. 82.

 

Note that in CPR pamphlets, the hotel’s name sometimes appeared as “Fraser Cañon House” or “Fraser Canon House”; it was later renamed the “North Bend Hotel”.

When researching this blog post, we could find little information on what happened to the Fraser Canyon House, but according to Wikipedia, the original structure burned down in 1927.

 

References

The Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs contains postcards, family photo albums, and ephemera from the 1850s through the 1970s. The collection of over 18,000 photographs was donated to UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections by Uno and Dianne Langmann. A portion of these photographs have been digitized and are accessible through Open Collections.

In addition to 79 photograph albums (containing 8,893 photographs), the digital collection contains 1,527 postcards. These postcards depict a range of subjects including landscapes, buildings and streets, parks, and bodies of water. Many of the postcards feature images taken by important photographers, including George Alfred Barrowclough, Leonard Frank, and Philip T. Timms. To provide a starting point for exploring the Uno Langmann postcards, we have compiled a brief profile for each of these three photographers, along with some representative postcards from the collection.


George Alfred Barrowclough

Born in England in 1872, George Alfred Barrowclough immigrated to Canada as a child with his family. In 1906, he moved from Winnipeg to the Lower Mainland, where he lived with his brother in Burnaby before moving to Vancouver in 1909.

The majority of Barrowclough’s postcards are from 1908-1912. The photographs focus on typical scenes, buildings, and popular destinations in and around Vancouver:

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Carnegie Library, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Tally ho, Vancouver here, [between 1900 and 1910?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Post Office, Vancouver, B.C., [not after 1910].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Big Tree Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Capilano Bridge, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

 

Notably, Barrowclough also took pictures of news events, like these photos of a streetcar crash and rubble from a fire:

Barrowclough, George Alfred. A bad smash between a drug store window and a st. car, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Ruins by Fire, Vancouver, 1907.

 

And sometimes, his captions sometimes featured a bit of humor:

Barrowclough, George Alfred. On Strike for a Wider Road in Stanley Park, B.C., [between 1900 and 1910?]


Leonard Frank

Born in 1870 in Germany, Leonard Frank immigrated to San Francisco in 1892 during the gold rush. Although he never found gold, he won a camera in a raffle, and then moved north to Alberni, B.C. in 1894. He ran a general store and started a small studio there, then relocated to Vancouver in 1917, where he became a prominent commercial photographer.

The Uno Langmann collection contains 84 postcards featuring Leonard Frank photographs. Several of the photographs in the collection are landscapes, featuring locations across B.C.:

Frank, Leonard. Canadian Rockies, 1927.

Frank, Leonard. Capilano River and Lions, 1927.

 

This photograph was taken in Alberni, B.C., before Leonard Frank moved to Vancouver:

Frank, Leonard. Sproat Lake, V.I., [between 1905 and 1916?]

 

Like most postcard photographers, Leonard Frank also photographed buildings and attractions in Vancouver:

Frank, Leonard. Hotel Vancouver, 1927.

Frank, Leonard. Corner of Hastings & Granville Streets, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Frank, Leonard. English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

Frank, Leonard. Vancouver, B.C., 1927.


Philip T. Timms

Philip Timms had a long and impressive career: born in 1874 in Toronto, he finally retired in 1968, after a 70-year career as a photographer. His photographs feature scenes from both the Lower Mainland and northern British Columbia. In addition to his independent work, he was the official photographer for the Vancouver Museum.

Timms, Philip T. Some retail shops, Granville St., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1903 and 1912?].

Timms, Philip T. Keep Left – Stanley Park, [1905].

Timms, Philip T. S.S. Princess Victoria, leaving dock, Vancouver, B.C., [1906].

Timms, Philip T. Choose ye, the farm or the city, Vancouver, B.C., [1906].

Timms, Philip T. Popular Stopping Place : Meals, Rooms, Cabins, Rest. Fraser Canyon, B.C., [1945].

Timms, Philip T. [Taking photographs of Bowen Island].

 

You can check out the rest of the Uno Langmann postcards here, or visit the Uno Langmann Collection page to browse by subject or date.

References

In the spirit of the holiday season, enjoy these wintery images from Open Collections.

Check out these beautiful photographs of a snowy UBC campus, from the UBC Archives Photograph collection:

Photograph by Leonard Frank, UBC 1.1/1299 Sundial in Botanical gardens in the snow, 1926.

UBC 23.1/67. UBC Library in the snow, [1948?].

UBC 1.1/2047. UBC campus snow scene, 1969.

 

From the Chung Collection, this 1928 Canadian Pacific Railway Company menu advertises various winter sports in Banff:

Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Winter sports at Banff, 1928.

 

Also, check out this ski holidays poster from 1941:

Ewart, Peter. Banff-Lake Louise region Canadian Rockies via Canadian Pacific, 1941.

 

The Tremaine Arkley Croquet collection features retro Christmas cards:

[Christmas card depicting children playing croquet], [between 1910 and 1919?].

Bright and happy be your Christmas, [between 1890 and 1899?].

 

These photos from the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs show Vancouver and North Vancouver covered in snow:

Granville St., Vancouver, B.C., Jan 13 ’09, 1909.

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C. after fall of snow, [not before 1910].

Suspension Bridge, First Capilano Canyon, Vancouver, B.C., Length 450 Feet, [between 1924 and 1949?].

Wardlaw, John. Winter sports, Grouse Mountain Park, North Vancouver, B.C., [between 1922 and 1941?].

Barrowclough, George Alfred. A Winter Sunset on English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?].

 

Finally, we hope you’re a bit warmer than these two today:

Bullock-Webster, Harry. 45° below zero–and he’s lost the matches, 1880.

Our Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs has several photo albums with tons of interesting materials.

Photo albums act as collections of memories for families and are always a good source for remembering moments, people, and places.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, people didn’t have digital cameras to take multiple photos of everything. They had to choose important moments to commit to film. In today’s post, we will show you some of the travel registries.

This photo, taken in 1935, is from a Vancouver family photo album named “Year 1935, S.S. Prince Robert, Four Day Cruise”.

[Portrait of group on the S.S. Prince Robert], 1935

The following four photos are from a family and travel album, which includes photos from Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Ontario and the United States.

[View of dry docked boat], 1910-20?

[View of Altin, B.C.], 1915-25?

Caribou on the Yukon, 1910-20?

 

Our dog team, 1916

 

This album is from an unknown family living in British Columbia. Besides photos of BC, they also had a few from Europe, like these ones:

[Stone building], 1895-1905?

[Menai Suspension Bridge], 1850-1870?

The Menai Suspension Bridge (Pont Grog y Borth) connects the island of Anglesey to the mainland of Wales. The bridge was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826.

Bridge of Boats, Koblenz (Germany), 1870-1900?

 

Kings Door, Cologne Cathedral, 1850-1880?

 

Church of St. Gudule, Brussels, 1850-1880?

 

[Coastline], 1895-1905?

Our collection contains a photo album created by two sisters, Clara and Kitty, who chronicled their cycling trips in British Columbia. The following are some examples of the photos that you can see in their album!

[Wilson photo album], 1947

[Wilson photo album], 1947

These photos must have brought so many good memories to their families in a time before you could Google images! If you liked these photos and are interested in seeing more, check out the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs.

February 12 is Family Day in British Columbia. While this statutory holiday was created in BC in 2013, falling on the second Monday every February, it has existed in other parts of Canada for even longer.

The very first province to observe Family Day as a statutory holiday was Alberta in 1990, when Family Day was created to give people the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones.

To celebrate the date, we’ve brought you some of our favorite family pictures from our collections.

 

When it comes to building families, often everything starts with a wedding.

[Chinese family wedding], 1940

 

Then, comes the kids

[Two boys dressed as sailors], 1940

Bill Ciss, Elsie and Babe up Grouse Mountain, 1925-35?

 

Sometimes, several kids

[French family with ten children], 1920-29?

 

But there’s always space for one more

[Photograph depicting a family], 1879

 

Happy Family Day!

Shigetaka Sasaki family

 

F. K. Hare and family, 1968

 

The history behind the photos

Two boys dressed as sailors: the photo is part of an album from a Vancouver family. The album contains several registries from family’s travels across British Columbia and the United States, while also showcasing their life in Vancouver.

Bill Ciss, Elsie and Babe up Grouse Mountain: the photo is part of an unknown family album from our Uno Langmann Collection. There are photos from British Columbia or Alberta and other locations not identified.

French family with ten children: the photo depicts a French family traveling on the Duchess of Bedford cruise of the Canadian Pacific Railways.

Shigetaka Sasaki family: Steve Shigetaka Sasaki was the top judoka in his province in Japan before he immigrated to Canada in 1922. He was the founder of the Vancouver Judo Club (Taiku Iku Dojo) and was known as the “Father of Judo in Canada”.

F. K. Hare and family: Frederick Kenneth Hare was a meteorologist and environmentalist. Hare was also the fifth president of the University of British Columbia (UBC).

 

If you are interested in getting to know more about our collections, the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs have a lot of family photos from 1850s to the 1950s. You will be amazed to see those pictures, as we were.

 

Sources:

British Columbians reflect on the meaning of Family Day (CBC News)

F. Kenneth Hare (Science)

Family Day in Canada (Time and Date)

Former UBC president Kenneth Hare remembered (UBC)

History of Judo in Canada (Vernon Judo Club)

Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki Family Fonds (Nikkei Museum)

February 12 is Family Day in British Columbia. While this statutory holiday was created in BC in 2013, falling on the second Monday every February, it has existed in other parts of Canada for even longer.

The very first province to observe Family Day as a statutory holiday was Alberta in 1990, when Family Day was created to give people the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones.

To celebrate the date, we’ve brought you some of our favorite family pictures from our collections.

 

When it comes to building families, often everything starts with a wedding.

[Chinese family wedding], 1940

 

Then, comes the kids

[Two boys dressed as sailors], 1940

Bill Ciss, Elsie and Babe up Grouse Mountain, 1925-35?

 

Sometimes, several kids

[French family with ten children], 1920-29?

 

But there’s always space for one more

[Photograph depicting a family], 1879

 

Happy Family Day!

Shigetaka Sasaki family

 

F. K. Hare and family, 1968

 

The history behind the photos

Two boys dressed as sailors: the photo is part of an album from a Vancouver family. The album contains several registries from family’s travels across British Columbia and the United States, while also showcasing their life in Vancouver.

Bill Ciss, Elsie and Babe up Grouse Mountain: the photo is part of an unknown family album from our Uno Langmann Collection. There are photos from British Columbia or Alberta and other locations not identified.

French family with ten children: the photo depicts a French family traveling on the Duchess of Bedford cruise of the Canadian Pacific Railways.

Shigetaka Sasaki family: Steve Shigetaka Sasaki was the top judoka in his province in Japan before he immigrated to Canada in 1922. He was the founder of the Vancouver Judo Club (Taiku Iku Dojo) and was known as the “Father of Judo in Canada”.

F. K. Hare and family: Frederick Kenneth Hare was a meteorologist and environmentalist. Hare was also the fifth president of the University of British Columbia (UBC).

 

If you are interested in getting to know more about our collections, the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs have a lot of family photos from 1850s to the 1950s. You will be amazed to see those pictures, as we were.

 

Sources:

British Columbians reflect on the meaning of Family Day (CBC News)

F. Kenneth Hare (Science)

Family Day in Canada (Time and Date)

Former UBC president Kenneth Hare remembered (UBC)

History of Judo in Canada (Vernon Judo Club)

Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki Family Fonds (Nikkei Museum)

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