News that East Vancouver’s historic Waldorf Hotel will be closing on Jan. 20, to be replaced by a condo development, hit Vancouver culture lovers hard on Wednesday. Despite falling on hard times in step with the misfortunes of the nearby Downtown Eastside, the Waldorf has been praised for its live event space and tiki bar since re-opening in 2010. It was widely seen as a cultural hub for a revitalized East Vancouver.
What memories of the Waldorf Hotel will stay with you? The Globe and Mail wants to share these stories with your fellow readers. Fill out the form below and we’ll pick some responses to share. If you like, include your contact details in case a reporter wants to follow up for a story (we won’t share your information with anyone else).
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Below is a summary of the responses we've received so far, in some cases excerpted or edited for clarity.
We held our campaign victory party at the Waldorf when Adrian Dix became the Leader of the BCNDP. At the end of a long campaign, amidst the last few weeks, the staff at the Waldorf were so patient, kind, and accommodating. The party itself was a great success. I will miss this venue very much.
— Amanda va Baarsen, Hastings-Sunrise area
Many memories: At the age of five we lived in my grandparents' house which was located across the street (now a vacant lot). The house faced the "Ladies and Gents" entrance, and my uncle would cut flowers from the garden and take me over to the entrance, where I would sell the flowers as he kept an eye on me from the porch. He tells me we made a lot of money (I got paid with ice cream)
In 1968 when I became legal to enter pubs, the Waldorf was the place that me and my friends went to on a regular basis. We were a group of guys that grew up in the East End -- many of us were longshoremen. I remember the many breakfasts I had downstairs after "plugging in" at the Longshoremans hall before and after Dispatch, and on paydays (Thursdays) lining up in the pub to get my cheque cashed, which many times resulted in getting home late for dinner.
This was our home beer parlour. When we wanted to find our buddies we just went to the Waldorf. We preferred the Lounge, it was a classy place with the twinkling stars in the ceiling and the great decor. We had many a good times there and in the beer parlour also. The cast of characters that frequented the Waldorf were a colourful bunch: bookies, bandits, etc.
I remember weddings, parties and my stag down in the large reception room downstairs. I remember the great dinners we had in the banquet room. And in these latter years we have had birthday get-togethers there and a few memorials. For me and my friends the Waldorf will have a special place in our hearts and will always be remembered. Sorry to see it go. Won't be the same as we drive down Hastings and not see The Waldorf Hotel there. Thanks for the memories.
— George Matkovich, Maple Ridge
In 2011/2012 I helped organize and host the first ever Polaris Prize listening salons held outside of Toronto at the Waldorf Hotel. We had everyone from Dan Mangan, to The Pack AD, to Kathryn Calder, to Devin Townsend come in to talk about their albums with the Vancouver Music Media/Polaris Jury members and for the general public to hear the albums start to finish. FREE events for the public with some of Vancouver's biggest names in music.
The Waldorf was a perfect host for this, and even held the short list announcement in the summer (the first time this happened outside of Toronto).
I had the pleasure of being a part of this amazing project with the Waldorf, as well as many of the shows, arts events, and dining experiences it's offered this city. It's a shame to lose this place, especially to condos, in an area that THEY built up. In a city that need MORE live music venues, not less, we're taking a big blow.
— Christine McAvoy, South Granville area
I'm supposed to pick just one?! There are too many, and I didn't even go that often. Every time was memorable.
- 2012 PuSh Festival opening gala that I organized.
- 2012 Halloween - so many great people were there, the building was buzzing. Filled with so many different 'types' of people.
- East Van Soul Club - one of the best dance parties I've ever been to.
- Performing at various cabarets in the basement - especially Blues and Haikus.
— Sara Bynoe, Mt. Pleasant area