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Happy 110 Years Royal Hotel

posted by: The Royal Hotel Chilliwack on: May 08, 2019 04:10:23 PM

Chilliwack’s Royal Hotel is celebrating a birthday! One hundred and ten years ago, in May, 1909 the three story building on Wellington Avenue started welcoming the travelling public through its front doors.

Chilliwack Progress, May 12, 1909

The hotel opened after much anticipation and according to the November, 18, 1908 Chilliwack Progress the site for the new hotel was one of the most desirable blocks of the city – situated on Wellington Avenue between the circa 1906 Royal Bank and the Oddfellows block.

The May 12, 1909 Chilliwack Progress covered the Royal’s opening and provided a very detailed piece, describing what one would see upon entering the lobby…”Directly in front is a large broad staircase of two landings leading to the first floor. Large broad windows look out upon the front street, comfortable easy chairs and reading and writing tables invitingly tempt the stranger to stay.”

Early image of the Royal Hotel 

That description from 1909 does not differ much from what our guests see when entering the Royal today.

The original owner was Mr. D.S. Dundas and the contractor was R.H.Brock, who built other homes and buildings in Chilliwack, including his own home on Gore Avenue, a designated heritage home; and Roberson Elementary School, located on Elm Street.

In 1926 Tom Berry Sr. purchased the Royal Hotel and began the Berry family’s tenure at the hotel that spanned nearly seven decades. No stranger to the hotel business, Tom had experience running other properties including the Empress Hotel in Chilliwack as well as hotels in Vancouver, White Rock and Duncan. After his untimely death in 1941, the Berry family continued to operate the hotel.
In 1995 the Royal Hotel changed ownership and underwent a massive restoration that included the lobby, guest rooms and corridors. Work included refinishing the original douglas fir flooring, trim and doors; rebuilding the beautiful staircase and adding bathrooms to each guest room. In select guest rooms, claw-foot tubs were added and modern conveniences like air conditioning and fire sprinklers were also included.

The Royal Hotel still welcomes guests from near and far; continuing the tradition that the Berry Family began in 1909. The hotel’s roots are also deeply woven into the fabric, culture and rich history of B.C.’s Fraser Valley.
Let’s take a quick look back at life in 1909……
  • BC’s premier was Richard McBride
  • Wilfrid Laurier was Canada’s Prime Minister
  • Sugar was six cents a pound while coffee would cost you thirty five cents per pound
  • The population of Chilliwack was just 1500 residents
  • Life expectancy in Canada was only around 50 years
  • Tuberculosis, influenza and syphilis were major causes of death in 1909
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