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Photos: Gastown SRO destroyed in blaze is a historic Vancouver hotel that's over 110 years old

It was built in 1907 as a modern hotel.

The site of the April 11, 2022 Gastown fire was one of the oldest buildings in the city.

Located in the heart of Gastown on the southwest corner of Water and Abbott streets, Hotel Winters was built when the city was still young and growing. It was 1907, the City of Vancouver had just turned 20 the year before and Mrs. Alice M. Winters wanted a hotel built.

For the Edwardian era it was a modern hotel, according to a register of Canadian heritage sites.

"At the time of its construction, the Hotel Winters was considered one of the better hotels in the city, and was furnished with every modern and up-to-date convenience, including telephones and hot running water," states the site. "It was designed by one of the city's leading architects, William Tuff Whiteway, who also designed the Woodward's Department Store at Hastings and Abbott Streets (1903) and the World (Sun) Tower at Beatty and Pender Streets."

It specifically shows what commercial designs looked like in the era, with influences from the Chicago School.

"The massive size of this structure illustrates the city's rapid population growth at the time, and the increased pressure to accommodate seasonal workers at a time when the economy was booming," it goes on.

It had 120 rooms.

Over the years it's seen a variety of uses, especially with commercial tenants on the ground floor. Most recently, the upper floors serve as an SRO and women's shelter operated by Atira Property Management, while downstairs businesses like the Flying Pig restaurant, Bruce Eyewear and fashion boutique Nika Custom Imports set up shop in storefronts.

Due to the fire, five people were sent to hospital, including one person who leapt from an upper floor to escape the flames and smoke.

The hotel was added to the Canadian register of historic places in 2005.

With files from the Canadian Press

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