This two-part series features some of the earliest Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) hotels in British Columbia. Many of these hotels have since closed down but formed an important part of early Canadian railway history. You can view Part 1 here. In previous blog posts, we profiled the two largest surviving CPR hotels in B.C.: Hotel Vancouver and the Empress Hotel.
Hotel Revelstoke and Hotel Sicamous
Located in central B.C., Hotel Revelstoke and Hotel Sicamous were popular stops for hunting and fishing. Hotel Revelstoke opened in 1897 in Revelstoke. Just a few years later, Hotel Sicamous opened in 1900 in nearby Sicamous, overlooking Shuswap Lake.
Here is a map showing the route between the two locations:
These images from the Chung Collection show Revelstoke, B.C. and the train station:
These photographs from the Uno Langmann Collection and the Doug and Joyce Cox Research Collection show Sicamous Hotel and Shuswap Lake:
Through the 1930s and 1940s, CPR hotels leased Sicamous Hotel to another operator. The building was destroyed in 1964. Hotel Revelstoke closed earlier, in 1928.
Emerald Lake Chalet
Located by Emerald Lake near Field, B.C., the Emerald Lake Chalet opened in 1902. According to brochures in the Chung Collection, the hotel only operated during the summer months.
Here is an exterior photo of the hotel:
This pamphlet features a painting of the lake:
This image shows the view from the deck of the chalet:
This pamphlet from 1926 summarizes nearby attractions:
And this brochure from the 1950s includes interior views of the hotel, as well as views of the surrounding nature:
Located in Penticton, B.C., the Hotel Incola (also known as the Incola Hotel) opened in 1912. Shortly after opening, this description appeared in CPR pamphlets:
Hotel Incola – Penticton, B.C.: A new first-class tourist hotel at the foot of navigation on Okanagan Lake reached by the C.P.R. Steamers. An ideal resort for any time of the year, owing to the sunny, dry climate of the Okanagan Valley. Rates, $3.00 per day and upward. American plan. Managed by H. Vince, for the Kettle Valley Railway.
Below are some photographs and an illustration of the Hotel Incola from our collections:
The Incola Hotel closed in 1979, and the building was demolished in 1981. For more details on this hotel, check out Elizabeth Pryce’s 1999 essay, which is available through our Okanagan Historical Society Reports collection.
Kootenay Lake Hotel
The Kootenay Lake Hotel in Balfour, B.C. was only open for a short time. After opening in 1911, it closed during World War I, then reopened in 1917 as a “sanatorium for convalescing soldiers.” The building was eventually destroyed in 1929.
A CPR pamphlet from the 1910s provides this description of the hotel and the surrounding area:
This, the most modern of the Canadian Pacific mountain hotels, is situated to the south of the Main Line at the end of the Crow’s Nest branch. It is essentially a hotel where the tourist can profitably spend a real holiday. Situated amongst scenery, not so rugged as that of the Rockies in the north, but which has a softer fascination, all its own, it stands high on the shores of a lake and among mountains, which have been favorably compared with the Italian Alps. The climate, too, is that of the Italian lakes—deliciously warm in the daytime and cool at night.
But it is as a fishing, hunting and boating resort, that the Kootenay Lake Hotel has its greatest claim to favor. The lake abounds in rainbow trout and salmon, for the capture of which every facility in the way of boats, guides and equipment, is offered by the hotel. The wooded sides of the mountain in the near vicinity, contain bear, caribou, white-tail deer, partridges, etc., all of which can be successfully hunted in their proper season. There are good trails for many miles over the mountains, and a wagon road of twenty-one miles has just been completed to the town of Nelson.
Here are some images of the hotel and the Kootenay Landing train station from the Chung Collection:
Cameron Lake Chalet
The ten-bedroom Cameron Lake Chalet opened in 1912 by Cameron Lake, B.C., on Vancouver Island.
Here’s a description and image of the hotel from a CPR pamphlet:
Cameron Lake Chalet—Snugly located at the southern end of the Lake. Excellent fishing at the proper season of the year, and a delightful resort for tourists in limited numbers, Cameron Lake Chalet being owned by the Company, and operated privately. A trail to the timber line of Mount Arrowsmith makes a delightful day or two’s outing for mountain climbers. From Cameron Lake the line skirts the foothills of Mount Arrowsmith (6000 feet high), of which a magnificent view can be had as the train passes along the high cliffs on Cameron Lake.
The hotel was open during summers and remained in business until 1966, shortly after the closing of the Port Alberni line passenger service.
- Bilsland, William Winstanely. “A history of Revelstoke and the Big Bend.” Master’s thesis, University of British Columbia, 1955.
- Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past (Revelstoke Review)
- Yoho Ho! (Washington Post)
- Sleepover: Emerald Lake Lodge, Field, B.C. (Globe and Mail)
- Incola Hotel (Wikipedia)
- The Incola Hotel (Elizabeth Pryce, in Okanagan History. Sixty-Third Report of the Okanagan Historical Society)
- Lost Kootenay Lake hotels remembered in postcards (Nelson Star)
- Place Names: Kootenay Landing to Reffek (Castlegar News)
- Baird, I. (1999, Dec 05). Grand old hotels on island rail lines. Times-Colonist; Victoria, B.C.
- Coombs closely linked to E&N (Times Colonist)
- Canadian Pacific Hotels (Wikipedia)
- List of Canadian railway hotels (Wikipedia)
- Denby, Elaine. Grand hotels: Reality & illusion: an architectural and social history. London: Reaktion Books, 1998.
- Hart, E. J. The Selling of Canada: The CPR and the Beginnings of Canadian Tourism. Banff: Altitude Publishing, 1983.
- McKee, William Carey and Georgeen Klassen. Trail of Iron: The CPR and the Birth of the West, 1880-1930. Vancouver: The Glenbow-Alberta Institution in association with Douglas & McIntyre, 1983.
- Canadian Pacific Railway. General Publicity Department. Canadian Pacific Facts and Figures. Montreal?: Canadian Pacific Foundation Library, 1937.