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Time Traveller: Grouse Mountain's original chalet was picture perfect before it burned to the ground

The structure was designed in around 1925
Time Traveller July 4WEB

This tinted postcard, reproduced from an original black and white photograph by Leonard Frank, shows the original Grouse Mountain Chalet.

The structure was designed in around 1925 by the local architectural team of Townley & Matheson (who also designed Vancouver City Hall and other iconic buildings).

Finnish and Swedish craftsmen built the chalet of yellow cedar logs. The chalet was the investment of businessman and (later) politician, William Curtis Shelly, president of Grouse Mountain Highway and Scenic Resort Ltd. Born in Ontario. Shelly came to Vancouver to expand his Shelly Brothers bakery business, known for its “Shelly's 4-X bread.” 

The chalet was later owned by the Cromie family, which owned the Vancouver Sun newspaper. The Sun often carried ads promoting the chalet, the chairlift, and the free skiing lessons the newspaper offered to its readers.  

The chalet burned to the ground in a dramatic fire in 1962. The Archives of MONOVA has moving images of the fire in its holdings; an excerpt was included in our 2020 Home Movie Day presentation available to view on MONOVA’s YouTube channel.

Visit the MONOVA website for more information about the history of the North Shore and to learn about MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver opening in 2021.

Currently, MONOVA: Archives of North Vancouver at 3203 Institute Rd. in Lynn Valley is open by appointment only. Contact: archives@monova.ca

Navigate culture on the North Shore by using the North Shore Culture Compass.