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Royal Hotel Timeline
The Royal Hotel
June 14, 2019 08:23:34 PM
In recognition of the Royal Hotel's recent 110th birthday, today we highlight the milestones and events that have occured at the hotel through the decades. Hope you enjoy the read!
The Royal Hotel is conceived and construction started on Chilliwack’s Wellington Avenue downtown, originally known as Centreville.
Chilliwack Progress, Nov. 18, 1908
The Royal Hotel opened in May, 1909. The three story hotel was built by Robert Brock for D.S. Dundas. The Royal Hotel and the Knight Block are the two tallest buildings in Chilliwack.
The hotel changes hands in the fall of 1919 when Mr. Cook from Vancouver purchases the hotel from D.S. Dundas. Mr. C.S. Cook had recently returned from overseas after spending 3-1/2 years in a German prison camp. He was captured during the second battle of Ypres in 1915, during WW1 - one of about 1400 Canadians captured in that battle.
Chilliwack Progress, Aug. 14, 1919
The Royal is purchased by Tom Berry Sr. (1882-1941). Born in Ireland, Tom learned the hotel business in South Africa before running hotels in Vancouver, Duncan and White Rock as well as the Empress Hotel and the Royal Hotel in Chilliwack.
The ownership of the Royal Hotel would remain in the Berry Family until 1995.
Tom Berry Sr. passed away April 10, 1941 in his room at the Royal Hotel at the age of 59 due to a heart attack. His room is now known as room “0”.
Thomas Henry, better known as “Buck” or” Harry” Berry, Tom’s only son (1916-2001) left Chilliwack to serve overseas with the Seaforth Highlanders during the Second World War, returning in 1945 to run the hotel with his sister, mother and wife Louise.
Sarah Jane Berry (1883-1947), Tom’s wife, passes away on May 31
in hospital, leaving the Royal Hotel in the hands of her son, “Buck”, daughter Margaret and Buck’s wife Louise.
Buck Berry purchased the Royal Bank building (circa 1907) located next to the Royal Hotel (at the corner of Wellington and Main Streets). An addition was completed to the rear of the old bank building allowing the Royal Beer Parlour to open with seating for 350 on August 30, 1950.
Chilliwack Progress, August 30, 1950
A lightning strike in late July ignites the roof of the Royal Hotel. Fortunately damaged was limited to the roof – and all guests were out of the hotel when the fire occurred. The lobby also suffered significant water damage.
Chilliwack Progress, July 1958
Buck Berry was named Chilliwack’s Sportsman of the Year on March 22
. Buck was recognized for his contribution and accomplishments in the sports of golf, soccer, lacrosse and basketball; both as a player and coach. Buck not only excelled as a player, but also coached youth teams and provided financial assistance to further amateur sports in Chilliwack.
Fire breaks out the in the kitchen of the Royal Café on Monday April 3, 1972. According to fire Chief Tom Beer damage was estimated at $5000 - the fire was contained to the kitchen.
Fire strikes the hotel again on August 9
. This fire started in the kitchen forcing the bar and beer parlour to close for several weeks while the damage was repaired.
Wayne Gretzky drops by the Royal Hotel on March 11 at 7:20 pm; to the surprise of sportsman and hotelier Buck Berry. The Great One’s visit was pre-arranged by friends, team-mates, fellow sports enthusiasts and hockey coach Muzz McPherson.
Gretzky was in Chilliwack for a dinner and auction in support of the Chilliwack Eagles Junior Hockey Club; more than 300 fans were on hand at Evergreen Hall to see a glimpse of the hockey star and score his autograph.
The Royal Hotel leaves The Berry Family’s hands and is sold to Alex Marks. Renovations begin on the hotel – heating and a/c are updated along with fire protection equipment. Original Douglas fir woodwork was restored throughout the hotel and bathrooms are added to each guest room.
Thomas Henry (“Buck”) Berry passes away on July 26
at the age of 85.
The Royal Hotel is transformed into the Royal Hotel in Lahore, Pakistan for the movie “Partition” (released in 2007), a love story based on the violent 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.
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