NWHPS

Arundel Mansions (1912)

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Arundel Mansions photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

With SkyTrain’s elevated tracks running along its exterior, and an interior that is largely untouched, the ambience of the Arundel evokes the feel of New York City and Chicago.

Style elements:  Reinforced steel concrete demonstrates forward thinking in the day for this six-storey combined commercial and residential apartment building. Though its multiple storeys of bay windows might have presented as a bit Queen Anne revival, the units featured all the modern conveniences touted to “arouse the envy of all good housewives.”  Craftsman-like details are found in most units with generous use of wood paneling and built-in features.

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Arundel Mansions photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

Architectural significance: Arundel Mansions is perhaps the most intact example of an apartment hotel in Western Canada. It was built conveniently close to transit hubs of the day – CPR and BC Electric Stations –  and today, Skytrain is literally at its doorstep.

What to look for:  Three units are on tour. One retains the dark, richly stained woodwork; the second has been painted. Though similar, it projects a very different feeling. The third unit is often used for filming. With its distressed verging seedy and worn look, it exudes a certain film noir vibe with a frontier sensibility. Each unit is self-contained, offering large living rooms and, in most cases, very original kitchens.

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Arundel Mansions Photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Arundel Mansions Photo credit: Paul FuocoPhoto credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Arundel Mansions Photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Arundel Mansions Photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Arundel Mansions Photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

First owner:  The architectural firm of Thornton and Davis built Arundel Mansions for G. Alers Hankey, owner of then adjacent Russell Hotel, later renamed as the College Place and currently the site of transitional and supportive housing for men.

The full story

“…A home of perfection.” That’s how one paper described the beautiful six-storey new apartment built on Begbie Street. There is indeed something special about the Arundel Mansions. Even its name evokes a bygone era.  Mansions. Few would equate such stately grandeur with this six-storey apartment building but somehow it works.

When hotelier and businessman G. Alers Hanky was looking to fill the gap in accommodations in the Royal City he realized that short and long-stay lodgings had a future.  He already owned the popular Russell Hotel (previously the iconic College Place Hotel and now transitional and supportive housing for men.) He sought to provide a luxurious and modern option for those travellers seeking flexible options for travelling and living.

He hired Vancouver architects Thornton and Davis to build the six-storey building as a combination of commercial and residential and the result was heralded!

The British Columbian newspaper called the Arundel Mansions the last word in comfort and exclaimed it “aroused the envy of all good housewives.”

Built in 1912 with reinforced steel and concrete the Arundel offered all the modern conveniences desired at that time—spacious self-contained units whose interiors displayed design elements of that Craftsman era. Built-in buffets with leaded glass. Claw foot tubs. Picture and plate rail.  Kitchens that were the “envy” of any women.  Look at all that counter space! (Not much compared to our current standards but massive back then.)

It was built close to transit hubs of the day: CPR and BC Electric Stations. The Westminster Trust Building (1911) was just steps and was home to commerce and business offices.

Today it remains as conveniently located accommodation near transit. SkyTrain is literally at its doorstep. The tracks run along one side of the Arundel reminiscent of New York City and Chicago. It is perhaps the most intact example of such a hotel of its kind in Western Canada. Much of the interior is largely untouched.

Three units are on tour. One retains the dark, richly stained woodwork. The other has been painted and, though similar, projects a very different feeling. The third unit is often used for filming. It has been distressed to look almost seedy and worn. It exudes a certain charm. Think a film noir vibe with a frontier sensibility.  Each unit is self-contained and offers large living and dining areas, a spacious bedroom and in most cases very original kitchens.  If you have not had the opportunity to visit the Arundel be sure to visit it this year. There is a real sense of years gone by.

Who has walked these floors?  What has happened here?  There is a certain sense of mystery and atmosphere one feels inside the lobby with its tiled floors and its then state of the art Van-E-Mon elevator. (The very first in New Westminster.)

New West Heritage Preservation Society - 2018 Heritage Home Tour Sponsor - Tanex IndustriesThank you to our sponsor, TANEX Industries Ltd – a family owned and operated business specializing in custom heritage mouldings since 1984. We’ve helped to restore, renovate and preserve many historic homes. We’ve proudly been supporting NWHPS by donating heritage plaques to the Homes Tour since 2004. Call TANEX at 604-540-9328