Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vancouver - The Sylvia Hotel and English Bay

In a hotel room overlooking English Bay. . .

From the Seawall, English Bay, Vancouver by DG Hudson



There is a 100-year old hotel. . .The Sylvia

Meet me at the Sylvia . . . they used to say. It was an ideal place for coffee, lunch or romantic trysts, situated on the edge of downtown facing English Bay near Stanley Park.



The Sylvia Hotel, Vancouver, by DG Hudson


The Sylvia Hotel was built in 1912 and now has heritage status. It began as an apartment block, named after the owner's daughter, Sylvia Goldstein. In its early years, this hotel boasted a top floor higher than other buildings in the West End of Vancouver. An early restaurant advertisement slogan, 'Dining in the Sky', no longer applied after the 1960s downtown building boom.



The Errol Flynn Connection

Errol Flynn, a former film star and the best Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest that ever was, drank here and at the Hotel Georgia when he happened to be in town.

A Vancouver urban legend says Errol Flynn died in the penthouse at the Sylvia Hotel in the arms of his teenage girlfriend. But it's not true. Like most legends, there is a grain of truth in the story. Errol died of a heart attack in a West End apartment of a friend, with his young lover nearby. He was 50 years old.

An excellent and informative article on the Sylvia Hotel can be found in the following reference: (Newspaper article-Vancouver Sun, Saturday, May 25, 2013 Weekend Review, Breaking News: Sylvia's Century (John Mackie, Vancouver Sun);


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Virginia creeper (the green vegetation) decorates the exterior of the Sylvia Hotel



The Sylvia Hotel, Vancouver, by DG Hudson


Located at 1154 Gilford Street facing English Bay, the location of The Sylvia is convenient to walking/biking paths, a downtown beach, and benches for people-watching. Nearby Denman Street which leads directly to English Bay has many cafes and interesting shops.


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A street view from Beach Avenue



The Sylvia Hotel, English Bay, Vancouver, by DG Hudson


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At the right place, at the right time

On July 25th, we were at English Bay to photograph the Sylvia Hotel. Afterwards, daughter #1 spotted Justin Trudeau, a young Canadian politician and son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. By checking his Twitter feed, we had confirmation, he was in town and at English Bay. Just a beach stroll . . .




Vancouver Seawall at English Bay, by DG Hudson

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Ever been to a hotel like The Sylvia? Do you like a city beach? Are there any in your area?

Have you ever walked, biked or ran the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver?
Please share in the comments and thanks for stopping by.
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References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Bay_(Vancouver) English Bay, Vancouver

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Errol_Flynn Errol Flynn

http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/archives_flynn.htm Vancouver Archives and Errol Flynn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Hotel The Sylvia Hotel

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51 comments:

  1. I've wanted to visit Vancouver for ages. I was even offered the chance to work there about two years ago, but chose Budapest instead. Someday...

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    1. I've never regretted choosing Vancouver as my home many years ago. Hope you get here one day, Ted. (it would be hard to turn down an exotic location like Budapest)
      Visit here and you'll see what I mean.

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  2. Wish I'd had time to see English Bay and the Sylvia Hotel when I was there. Ended up spending most of my time sitting at the train station since it was pouring rain outside. :(

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    1. They tell me a native Vancouverite has 'webbed feet' to cope with the rain. Half the time they don't use umbrellas either.

      I wish I could have helped show you around,LG! But perhaps another time.

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  3. It looks really cool with all of the vines covering it. Almost apocalyptic.

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    1. Yes, but it would need more dirt, cracked windows and torn sheets fluttering out the windows for that authentic apocalyptic look, don't you think?

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  4. I find it interesting that at the time of Flynn's death, there were no Twitter feeds. Can you imagine what friends (or enemies) of the young lover might have tweeted or Facebooked? Now, the son of a politician's whereabouts are confirmed through these new powerful, cultural forces.

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    1. Yes, that would have been hot news on the social networks. According to reports, he was feeling bad all day, but kept up his appearances and was telling jokes, and trying to amuse those who were at a small get-together. A trooper to the end.

      The times they are a-changing, Suze.

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    2. Feeling bad = feeling ill. Clarification.

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  5. I like Hotel Sylvia's architecture. Never been in the America's though...

    One day. ;-)

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    1. Well, I've never been in your country either, Misha. If travel were cheaper, I'd do more of it, but would I trust the planes? Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. No city and no beach for me any longer, but fin the earlier part of my life I mostly lived by water of one kind or another. I love old historic hotels and the Sylvia looks charming.

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    1. It would called a boutique hotel, perhaps today? I'd love an apartment there overlooking the bay. Water is a soothing influence. You're a mountain girl, now,Inger?

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  7. I've never been to a city beach. But how wonderful! The hotel is lovely and I loved reading about Errol Flynn. I've watched almost all his movies. Thank you for this!

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    1. I think I've watched most of Errol's movies, too. I liked that crooked smile. . .

      Glad you dropped by Words Crafter, since I referenced your post about doors on my 21st Century blog.

      My post about Doors:
      http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2013/08/paris-door.html

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  8. Never been to Vancouver, but I certainly would like to make it up there one day. Now that I live on the shores of Lake Tahoe in Nevada, it's more likely. I have stayed in old hotels like the Sylvia and love the feel of them.

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    1. English Bay looks different on a sunny weekend in the summer - much more crowded. We were there on a weekday.

      Hope you get to Vancouver one day, it's a beautiful city, with an interesting history.

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  9. Mother, fresh out of the orphanage, once waited on Errol Flynn at the restaurant at the Cleveland airport (yes, that is the reason I have Victor be taught by the Sensei in Cleveland). He was kind and compassionate to my star-struck, nervous mother. She never forgot.

    And that is the reason I made Hermes pose as Errol Flynn is several of my novels.

    Your history of The Sylvia and accompanying photos were fun and beautiful. :-)

    I think I have seen all of Errol Flynn's movies and when I was much too young, I read his autobiography: MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that really interesting bit of your mother's history, Roland. We never know what connections someone has had with another person, do we? A few moments of kindness, and we keep that memory close.

      As for Hermes - I know I've seen his name recently in one of your books. I'll check on that.

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  10. I've never been to a city beach, but I think I'd really enjoy it. The best of two worlds. Thanks so much for sharing pictures of Vancouver. I'd love to visit there someday, but it isn't likely that I ever will. Your pics provide a vicarious experience. Do you ever get to see the aurora borealis from there? If so, who knows? Maybe I WILL visit there someday. My hubby knows seeing the aurora is on my wish list.

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    1. Well, Susan, if I can fly to the south to visit relatives, you could fly here, too.

      We don't see the Aurora borealis from Vancouver, you need to go much further north for that - AND just so you know, we have the same type weather that northern France gets because of warm currents on our west coast. It's mild here most times.

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    2. The weather sounds good, but I dunno if I can get my hubby onto an airplane again or not. He had to travel so much for his job, he hasn't had any interest in going anywhere near the airport since he retired. Oh well. Maybe some day.

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  11. Someday I'll get to the west coast. The Sylvia looks lovely. We have buildings like that in Providence. On the East Side. Old world feeling. Well, because they were all built in the old world. 18th, 19th, 20th century. duh

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  12. I hope you do get to visit here one day, Anne. Hubs calls it the 'unknown gem of the Pacific' (he grew up here)

    Architecture and history draw me to a place like a magnet. Old World is still interesting to me. By sharing these photos, we learn more about the world.

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  13. Beautiful building. I love looking at old architecture and reading the dedication plaques inside.

    .....dhole

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    1. Me too, Donna. We just have an appreciation of good design.

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  14. I love historic places, and legends...I've never gotten to stay at a place like that (money...)but I did get to go to a wedding at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO a few years ago.
    Love that vine all over the building...
    Tina @ Life is Good

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    1. I'll have to look up that hotel now, Tina, since you've mentioned it. I like places with a little history attached.

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  15. Whoah -- that's a whole lot of Virginia creeper! Great photos, DG; I've stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado -- plenty of history there, too. Great settings for some paranormal fiction, methinks.

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    1. I like that idea, Milo! These types of places do make for great settings.

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  16. I love how Virginia can creep so high! So fun to see photos like that~ It reminds me of old buildings of my childhood, but none so creepy green ;D

    I love your photos and all that you shared! It is so pretty in your area :D

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    1. Being a gardener for most of my life, I wonder how they keep it so neat and tidy looking and do they ever let it get to the very top?? Glad you enjoyed the photos, Ella!

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  17. That was fascinating, especially the Errol Flynn connection and how useful Twitter can be!

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    1. A bit of the old and a bit of the new! Thanks for visiting, Ellie!

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  18. Hi D.G. I haven't been to Vancouver, but my daughter has. She still raves about Stanley Park. I love hotels with history. Was like walking into a time warp when I entered the Negresco in Nice, the South of France. How stunning, and imagine the days when Picasso et al drank there.

    Thank you for sharing the Sylvia Hotel.

    Denise

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    1. Nice, France is another place I would love to visit. Picasso certainly got around didn't he? Two of the bistros we ate at in Paris were older ones - Le Voltaire and Bistro Marguarite. Glad you liked the pix.

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  19. Beautiful, creeper & all.

    City beaches are cool -- it feels like such a surprise to turn from the water and see all the tall buildings.

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    1. Yes, I thought so when I first moved here.

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  20. Oops, forgot to say that *ding* *ding* *ding* you were right -- the paintings I posts last week are by Renoir. I didn't make it to the Musee D'Orsay the one time I was in Paris -- so it's at the TOP of my list for next time.

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    1. Thanks, Nicki, I thought so. I quite like Renoir and have a print of A Woman Reading. It reminded me of me, always reading.

      The Musee D'Orsay didn't allow photographs in the gallery nor were they allowed in Monet's house with his own collection of art work. With the art dating from the 1800s it's understandable.
      Thanks for visiting, Nicki.

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  21. our downtown area is on the james river and there are several old hotels still running in the area---i have never stayed in one though---yours looked very romantic!!

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    1. I'd love to see some photos, as I've never been in that area. Old hotels get my imagination going, wondering at past times. Thanks for the visit, Lynn.

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  22. I've been to Vancouver a number of times but don't remember seeing a Hotel wrapped in green. It's really nice. I wonder if the Virginia creeper has been creeping since it was first built.

    Be well, DG.
    xoRobyn

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    1. The Sylvia Hotel faces English Bay in the west end of the downtown core, RawknRobyn. Not sure how long that creeper has been there, but it's been on the hotel for decades. The same thing happens to buildings in Montmartre - I noticed that in Paris.

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  23. Hey DG! I loved this bit about the Sylvia. I remember seeing it all the time, years ago when I lived in the West End. I was on Pendrell. That was in the late '70's-early '80's...don't remember how high up the ivy went then...actually, thanks for the name of that ivy, DG, I wouldn't mind growing some. Do you think it would a good plant for containers?
    I love a city beach! There's nothing better than walking down to the beach from your apartment, doing the beach thing and then, crossing the road and going back in!

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    1. I think most ivy or creepers grow like weeds. Try a test plant in a container to see if it survives the climate.

      A city beach is great. A hotel with a history is even better. Water views are known to soothe the fevered city brow.

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  24. Hi DG .. I didn't know Errol Flynn died so early. Virginia Creepers are gorgeous in the autumn - their colours are just stunning ..

    Vancouver - I want to visit properly .. and the sea walk looks lovely - great views in the background ... Eastbourne isn't so interesting - but I used to love walking along Penzance seafront - but the sea is the sea .. and the colours and wave movement of the Ocean (even though it's the Channel!) .. are quite extraordinary ..

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Pirates of Penzance - came to mind when you mentioned the seafront. I'd probably love it there as on most seashores.

      I'll get to the UK one of these days, too, I hope.

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  25. Hi, D. G.

    Oh, how lovely. Stepping back in time is always so rejuvenating. I live in a building VERY similar to this one on Chicago's lake front. And, yes, a City on the sea or lake is truly magic!

    Vintage hotels and buildings from this era have such grace and charm. Nothing compares to this grand architecture. Thankfully we have many examples of these jewels by the sea. But, SO many were lost. Here in America, in particular, many of these building go into disrepair and are leveled. That is what happened up until the '90's... Thankfully nowadays, preservationists are saving these buildings and restoring them to their former glory.

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    1. Hi Michael! Lucky you if you live in a building like the Sylvia Hotel. We have some of those preservationists and I'm glad we do.

      If we want to respect our history and have future generations understand the past, then we have to restore and maintain such buildings. Thanks for visiting!

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  26. I have never been to the Sylvia Hotel, but it certainly looks like a place I'd like to visit!

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