There is a fascinating article in the Vancouver Courier today containing an oral history of the Waldorf Hotel on East Hastings by Rick Mills, son of the founder.
“There used be a lot more houses in the east end so people could walk home after a night at the Waldorf. But our main business was the long-haul truckers who stayed at the hotel between hauls,” Mills recalls. “The lunches in the dining room were packed in the daytime with a lot of railway execs and lawyers from nearby offices. At night we were always busy with the crowds returning from the games at Empire Stadium or the racetrack.”
He recalls corruptable food inspectors, and bookies who used the hotel for their business. He also describes the end of the Mills’ family relationship to the hotel:
The Mills decided to sell the Waldorf by the end of 1970. “They built that Longshoreman Hall behind the Waldorf, and those guys weren’t as nice as the truckers. They had a 40-foot tractor-trailer in the back of the parking lot full of TVs and stereos they’d stolen off the docks that they were selling and they were fencing the stuff in the beer parlour. It was a good time to sell. The business had changed and it wasn’t so much of a family anymore.”
One small but interesting point is that Mr. Mills says the hotel opened on 26th December, 1948. That may well be true, but the formal opening, advertized in the Highland Echo was a few weeks later, on 24th January, 1949.