The Occidental Hotel, 432 Fitzwilliam Street, was built in 1886. It was designed by Victoria architect John Teague, a member of Victoria-Columbia Lodge, No.1 and built by contractor Alfred Summerhayes, a member of Ashlar Lodge, No.3.
This landmark building is on the City of Nanaimo Heritage Building Register, which describes it as:
“The Occidental Hotel’s value resides in its role as a gateway building. Located at a prominent intersection, the building marks the western entrance to one of Nanaimo’s oldest commercial areas. The angled corner entry mirrors the entry on the building directly across the street and creates a visual funnel, reinforcing the impression of entering a new and distinct space. Tall, imposing and located at a prominent intersection, the Occidental Hotel is a highly visible landmark.
Built in 1886, the Occidental Hotel is very good example of Victorian Italianate architecture, one of the most popular 19th century styles in North America for a wide variety of building types, from houses and small apartment buildings, to commercial and institutional structures. The Occidental Hotel features the vertical proportions and tall, rounded windows and doors typical of this style.
The Occidental Hotel is significant because of its association with prominent Victoria architect John Teague, who came to Victoria in 1862 as an engineer for the Royal Navy at Esquimalt. After designing some of the navy buildings, he went into private practice, designing a wide variety of buildings, from hospitals and churches to business blocks and private homes. Remarkably prolific, Teague designed over 350 buildings and greatly influenced the character of early architecture in Victoria. His buildings include Victoria City Hall, the Freemason’s Meeting Hall, the East Block of St. Ann’s Academy, Scholefield House and the Church of Our Lord.
The substantial and handsome Occidental Hotel speaks to the mood of prosperity and possibility prevalent in the 1880s by the completion of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway and the expansion of the huge No. 1 Coal Mine. Located one block from the train station, the Occidental Hotel was the first business to take advantage of the opportunities the nearby train station provided. Over time, other businesses were established and the area eventually became an important secondary retail district within a predominantly residential neighbourhood. The Occidental Hotel has been in continuous use as an eating and drinking establishment for over 100 years.”
We have put a page for the Occidental Hotel under our Buildings Associated With Ashlar Lodge Members page. Also see the Rawlinson-Glaholm Grocery, located directly across the street from the Occidental Hotel.