The Sylvia Hotel – Symbol of Grace and History

I have re-read an excellent article from the NY Times (subscription req’d) Travel Footsteps found via Darren Barefoot’s web repository of goodness.

The article is about writer Alice Munro’s time spent living in Vancouver and while I am not very familiar with Ms. Munro’s work, i am fascinated by Vancouver history and locations, especially from a literary perspective. Anyhow, the article talked about various Vancouver landmarks visited by, or alluded to in Munro’s writing.
Vancouver's Sylvia HotelThis is not the shiny, internationalized Vancouver of Douglas Coupland, rather a time when Vancouver was a west coast outpost city in transition trying to carve out an identity and an economy after the first heady decades of mass harvesting of timber and minerals. The neighborhoods have changed, downtown has “moved” but many landmarks are more luminescent than ever.

The article finishes with a walking tour of Alice Munro’s Vancouver including points in Kitsilano and around to English Beach and the wabi-sabi Sylvia hotel. Now turned into apartments i do believe, the Sylvia stands out in a busy waterfront, a side thick-covered in ivy, no balconies or thermal windows or fitness clubs, just refined living from a by-gone day right in front of the idyllic driftwood and sand beach.

Makes me think of walking back to the hotel after a night listening to lounge jazz at a supper club on Main or Hastings – somewhere now turned to a flophouse welfare hotel, the only evidence of past glory, a faded sign or framed and glassed dusty prints of performers or guests stashed in a closet or forgotten on an otherwise vacant shelf.

Whatcha think?