Invermere Hotel

The Invermere Hotel was a landmark since 1900. Originally it was named Hotel Canterbury. Located on the main street of Invermere in southeastern British Columbia, the Invermere Hotel was the hub of the little town. Its main draw in later years was the beer parlour, but it was the center of the community’s events when the Paradise Mine was still active. Silver, lead, and zinc were mined there from the time these metals were discovered nearby in 1889 until the mine finally closed in 1964. During the mining heydays, the Invermere Hotel (Hotel Cranberry) was always bustling with community activities.

In August of 1973, the captain and I were in Invermere and decided that the way to get the flavour of the town was to visit its local drinking establishment. I don’t generally frequent beer parlours, but I’m glad I did that night. It was  entertaining, and I would never have the chance again, because that night, at  2 a.m. the two-storey frame building burned to the ground. Reports say the blaze appears to have started in an attic.

Only one guest, a permanent resident, and staff were in the building at the time. No one was hurt.

Firemen battled the blaze for more than two hours with the two available fire trucks, but there was really no hope of saving the historic landmark.

I felt quite sad when I took this photo the next morning. Another bit of history was gone.

By the way, do you see the phone booth (remember those?) where Clark Kent failed to get changed into his Superman outfit in time to save the hotel?


22 thoughts on “Invermere Hotel

  1. Dawn

    I am always amazed that you have and can find photo’s from that place and time.
    Do I see a pair of bell-bottoms??

    Interesting how one can almost smell the acrid bitterness of the smoke.

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Bell bottoms, yes!! It was the 70s. That was just a crowd of onlookers. Nobody I knew. But yes, the clothes put a date on the photo. I didn’t hang around like they did, breathing in that smoke. I guess they were locals and it meant more to them than it did to me at the time.

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Yes, we were just in time. You can see from the newspaper report about there being only one (permanent) resident and the staff there at the time, that the beer parlour was the biggest thing that kept it going back then. I suppose they must have served food too.

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      It is! I hadn’t thought of it that way, but how lucky that we got to be part of that history in some small (beer drinking) way! 😉 If it hadn’t been a hot summer evening, we probably wouldn’t even have gone inside for that beer. Funny how things work out.

  2. underswansea

    Wow, imagine my surprise when I opened your blog because it was tagged ‘Invermere’! My parents owned the local newspaper and I grew up on the streets of Invermere. I remember it well the night it burned. The next morning the kegs kept blowing in a blast of steam and beer. My friend and I got a job being lowered into the ashes to retrieve scrap metal. I was 8 years old – times were different back then! I can’t recall what I was paid, but remember my mother commenting it wasn’t enough to buy the soap to wash the black soot off. Thanks for the flashback! For the record – the Invermere Hotel was rebuilt and burned down again several years later. Again it was rebuilt and still stands at the end of town. The photo is fantastic. Do you have any others? If so I would love to see them. My email is under the ‘About’ section on my blog. All the best. Bob

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I’m happy to see that my old photo means something to someone. I’m afraid it’s the only one I have of that scene. We stayed a couple of nights in the Heckar (or was it Hecker?) Motel right by the lake. It was inexpensive but we found out why that first night when it sounded as if the train was coming right through the room. My guess is that this motel, too, burned down at some point, if it didn’t rattle to the ground. If I come across any other pictures of that time and place I’ll get in touch with you. Meanwhile, thanks for clicking on my blog.

  3. Luanne

    That’s sad. And I just came from “there.” Yup, we went to British Columbia for our vacation. We were in Vancouver and Victoria and drove up to Whistler.

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      All fixed up. That was nice that you came up this way. I hope the weather co-operated and it wasn’t too smoky. The wildfires have been bad this year. It was too bad that this old hotel burned down but since the building was made of wood, maybe it wasn’t meant to last much longer than it did. Not like the stone architecture of the ancient civilizations. Still, I’m glad I can say I sat inside that building the night before it burned down.

      1. Luanne

        The weather was great. It only rained a tiny bit on the ferry to Victoria. And the only fire we smelled was up near Whistler. I’m glad you were able to sit inside as well.

  4. reocochran

    This was a horrible disaster, Anneli. Strange how this worked out and yet, sad too. Losing a part of local history and right after you stayed for a drink at the place. 😦
    The photo was a way to really show the results.


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