The Sylvia Hotel

The Sylvia Hotel is a small beachside hotel in Vancouver’s English Bay with a long and storied history. These photos were taken when the hotel is at its most colourful —in the fall, after the ivy has turned red.

The hotel has some other colour as well: Errol Flynn was a frequent guest and there is an urban legend that he died here. Team Russia, including (it was rumoured) the Russian hockey team, stayed at the Sylvia during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

The Sylvia Hotel has overlooked English Bay since 1912. Originally an apartment building, it was converted to an apartment hotel during the 1930s and to a full-service hotel after World War II. Its name is taken from the daughter of the building’s original owner. Until 1958, the Sylvia was the tallest building in Vancouver’s West End — hard to imagine today as the eight-storey building is dwarfed by the condo towers that surround it.

Two of my home exchangers came to Vancouver for family weddings and found the Sylvia most convenient for other members of their families to stay. It’s a lovely place to go for breakfast — I recommend the Beachside Benny — and the hotel is also the setting of two children’s books about a resident cat named Mister Got to Go.

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