The History of the Sylvia Hotel

When it opened on May 3 of 1913 as a 70 unit apartment block, Sylvia Court was the tallest building in Vancouver and attracted affluent tenants. Apartments were smartly equipped including a dumb waiter service installed in every suite.

It’s Boston Ivy


Boston ivy is the ivy-like plant that covers more than half of the property in a lush coat of seasonal colours. The plant is a trademark feature of the hotel and a well known landmark in the city. The vines are the legacy of one of Sylvia Court’s first tenants, Mrs. Kenvyn who started the plant after World War II.


The Hotel in a Cat’s Story

The famous Sylvia Hotel cat, Mr. Got To Go, has inspired three popular children’s books about the stray cat who arrived at The Sylvia Hotel one day and decided to check in permanently.


A First

For Cocktails

On July 2nd 1954 the medieval themed Tilting Room opened at the Sylvia Hotel, it was Vancouver’s first cocktail lounge. An instant classic, the Tilting Room played host to the likes of Malcolm Lowry and Errol Flynn.


Historical Designation

Through the decades the Sylvia has transitioned with the times, supplying a demand for shorter term accommodations while retaining permanent residents through the 1950s. During World War II some rooms were even converted to be used as lodging for English Bay’s Merchant Marine crews.

From the time it was built the building would remain the tallest in the West End until 1956.

In 1975 the City of Vancouver and designated the Sylvia a heritage building, thereby ensuring its survival for many years to come. Today it remains one of the few publicly accessible heritage buildings in Vancouver.