Victorian Charm in Vancouver’s West End
by Jane & Brent Cassie
Contributors to Travelink Publishing
History abounds at The West End Guest House, where its greeting front steps were also the posing point for the 1906 Edwards family portrait now displayed in the foyer. Constructed from straight grain cedar, this finely crafted home was initially designed for Mrs. Melora Edwards and her children, and remained in the family until 1966. Today, it’s proud pink exterior beckons a warm Victorian welcome, and exquisite internal treasures maintain the home’s precious heritage. Walls throughout are clad in paisley prints, delicate florals and complimenting stripes, appropriately depicting the early 1900s era. Velvet overstuffed lounges, inviting settees and a collection of handsome antiques are also finely appointed.
Warmed by the parlor’s glowing fire, a glass of sherry was offered as we admired the old-world gramophone and an 1800s Kruger pendulum-style clock. Since May 1991, when Evan Penner took ownership of The West End Guest House, his cherished family heirlooms have helped re-create a ‘turn of the century’ feel. Gracing the walls throughout, ornate gold frames boast a selection of Impressionist-style oils, and a collection of images from the Edwards Brothers Photography Company reveal the fascinating tales of our forefathers during the early growth of Vancouver.
Seven cozy guest rooms provide the utmost in pampering from the draping of goose-down over fine linens and fluffy feather pillows, to the provision of private ensuite baths, plush terry robes and comfy hand-knit slippers. Each is designed with selective period pieces enhancing their own personal flavour, yet all offer the same wonderful modern conveniences of TVs and phones. For the ultimate in romance, we highly recommend the Grand Queen Suite where sunshine flows through skylit attic gables onto a canopy-draped brass-framed bed. After emerging from the claw-foot tub, you may want to cuddle next to the flickering fire and you may also choose to stay cooped up in this spacious abode for a good part of your stay!
Our vehicle remained stationary during our entire visit, as this ideal ‘heart of downtown Vancouver’ location is accessible by foot to the many popular attractions and restaurants. For those who prefer to pedal push, The West End Guest House also provides bicycles, where nearby Stanley Park has fabulous trails and an unbelievably scenic sea wall to explore.
On our short jaunt to English Bay, we admired the restored heritage homes which were interlaced with modern-day high-risers, and a further reminding of our early settlers, were the remains of the famous oceanside bathhouses where, in the early 1900s, the legendary Trinidadian, Joe Fortes, spent his days lifequarding and teaching swimming. Waves lapped onto these same sandy shores and the pristine coastal mountains still provided the beautiful backdrop that they did one century ago. Our journey back in time continued as we strolled the sea wall to our dining destination where The Fish House, at the turn of the century, was a community hall for recreational activities. Now, popular entrees such as succulent corn husk-wrapped spring salmon with a delightful maple glaze, and a Pacific Northwest Seafood Bowl boasting an assortment of fresh clams, muscles, scallops, and tiger prawns have helped create the fine reputation that this exquisite restaurant so well deserves.
The romantic moonlit lost lagoon stroll back was a wonderfully romantic way to burn dining calories, and waiting for us were the results of the turn down service exemplifying West End Guest House’s personal touch.
Waking to the aroma of freshly brewed Java, we joined other guests at the dining room’s finely crafted mahogany table and shared conversation while enjoying a selection of cereals, mouthwatering carrot-pineapple muffins, yogurt topped strawberries, kiwi and banana divinely presented in flavourful waffle cups and the sensational daily entree, eggs Benedict.
Before heading out, we were warmed by the sun’s rays on the private deck overlooking the intimate garden patio. We wondered whether there was any truth to the rumor that the lingering spirit of Melora Edward’s can still be felt at The West End Guest House today. No doubt, she too would enjoy the pampering that this lovingly refurbished great ‘us’cape has to offer.
If You Go:
1362 Haro St.
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada V6E 1G2
Web site: www.westendguesthouse.com
Vancouver and other lower mainland travelers: enter Vancouver downtown core.
For our State-side Neighbors: Through Blaine, taking either the Douglas or Pacific border crossing.
Follow Vancouver signs and enter Vancouver downtown core.
Haro runs parallel to Robson and Davie Streets
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