Vancouver Heritage Foundation Weekly: Places That Matter First United Church & Gospel Mission/Louvre Hotel


The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture.
Photo Credit: Flickr: kennymatic

Join VHF, Councillor Tim Stevenson, Rev. Gary Paterson and community members for the First United Church plaque presentation on World Homeless Day Wednesday, Oct 10th at 1:30pm part of Homelessness Action Week (HAW) in Vancouver. Meet at the steps on Gore (at Hastings). Everyone is welcome!

First United Church plaque #36 reads: “Hastings and Gore became the site of First Presbyterian Church in 1892. It became First United Church in 1925, following the union of Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches into the United Church of Canada. The original building was replaced by the current structure in 1965. Since the Great Depression, First United has been known as “the church of the open door”, working for social justice. In 2007, the congregation was dissolved, but the church continued its mission to the residents of the Downtown Eastside, providing advocacy, shelter and affordable housing.”

And, taking a look back at plaque #6 Gospel Mission/Louvre Hotel 300 block of Carrall St. where another community institution still stands (at Pigeon Park between Hastings St. and Cordova)…

City of Vancouver Archives: c. 1889 Vancouver Tea and Coffee Co.

Gospel Mission (not to be confused with Union Gospel Mission) is the oldest mission in the city! The building began as the Vancouver Drug Company by Dr. James Rolls and the Vancouver Tea and Coffee Company managed by W.A. Cumyow. Then Robertson’s Men’s Furnishings, Hats and Caps and the Brown Jug Saloon move in.  In 1897 the Brown Jug Saloon is renamed the Louvre when Reinhold Minaty from the Old Fountain Saloon on Cordova Street advertised the Louvre as having the only circular bar in the province and suggested customers “call in and lubricate”. Wish we could find a photo of that circular bar!

Gospel Mission – founded in 1929– has occupied the former Louvre Hotel since the 1940s. The Gospel Mission began operating in Vancouver in the late 1920s and today, the same building encourages and sustains locals in a different way. Down the lane (once known as Louvre Alley)  you can see the faint remains of signs for the saloon and advertisements for  “clean beds for 20 cents a night” at the Boston Rooms a few doors down the lane.

Gospel Mission/Louvre Hotel 2012

On the ground floor businesses including cafes, confectionery stores, barber shops and tailors come and go over the years. Since the 1950s, Wing’s, the family-operated diner continues to serves hot meals. Drop in and have a chat with Johnny and the locals. They have some great stories to tell…

In 1940, the old Bijou Theatre next door to the hotel was torn down and included the demolition of a section of the Louvre Hotel that faced onto the CPR right-of-way at Carrall St. (Interesting that it says “Bijou, Family Theatre”.)

City of Vancouver Archives: 1909, Bijou Theatre and Louvre Hotel

CLICK here to watch a short video of the Louvre Hotel presentation, April 28, 2012.

April 28, 2012: Michael Kluckner, Pastor Barry Babcock , Pastor Drew Snider, Diane Switzer