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Historic Okanagan hotels feature prominently in new book

Room at the Inn looks at 40 historic hotels in B.C.’s southern Interior from the 1890s to the 1950s
Hand-tinted photograph of Vernon’s Kalamalka Hotel circa 1945. The hotel graces the cover of a new book, Room at the Inn, featuring stories of 40 historic hotels in B.C.’s southern Interior. (Museum and Archives of Vernon Photo #3633)

Oh, the stories held inside their walls.

Salacious tales of murder, robbery, and suicide, mixed in with the daily social routine and operation.

Some are being revealed in a new book by late author Glen A. Mofford, Room at the Inn, a fully illustrated social history profiling 40 historic hotels spread over five regions of B.C.’s southern Interior, covering seven decades from the 1890s to the 1950s.

Vernon’s Kalamalka Hotel is featured on the front cover.

Room at the Inn reveals the long-forgotten histories of British Columbia’s early hospitality industry, through the riveting stories of the men and women who built, ran, and frequented hotels, hostelries, resorts, and roadhouses in the southern Interior.

From the Similkameen town of Keremeos to Spences Bridge at the confluence of the Thompson and Nicola Rivers, east to the Alberta border along the Trans-Canada Highway, and south to the Canada–US border, the history of these hotels mirrors the history of B.C.’s mining towns and boom-bust economy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as waves of prospectors, settlers, and eventually tourists shaped the culture of the province that we know today.

Of the 40 historic hotels profiled in this book, all contributed to their communities in various ways.

They provided more than just a roof over the heads of weary travellers; they were often the sites of live entertainment, places where community members could meet and socialize. Some even doubled as makeshift hospitals during wildfires and floods.

Through colourful anecdotes, meticulous research, and fascinating archival photography, Room at the Inn transports readers to a bygone era and pays tribute to the pioneers, entrepreneurs, and hard-work men and women who built and operated these historic accommodations.

The hotel featured on the cover of the book is the Kalamalka Hotel in Vernon. Built in July 1892, the hotel is still standing and is home to the Kal Sports Bar.

Three hotels were named King Edward Hotel, including one in Enderby; two of which were built in 1905 during his rein, and the third was completed in 1910.

Of the 40 hotels, 22 were destroyed by fire, two of which were suspicious circumstances; six were closed then demolished; and one hotel — Reco Hotel in Sandon — was destroyed in a flood, after being closed and left vacant.

Only 10 are still standing, and nine of those are still in operation as a hotel or other public business. One, the Armstrong Hotel and Saloon, has been vacant since 2018.



• Ashcroft Hotel Ashcroft;

• Coalmont Hotel Coalmont;

• Leland Hotel Kamloops;

• Keremeos Hotel Keremeos;

• Driard Hotel / Nicola Hotel Nicola Lake;

• Princeton Hotel Princeton;

• Montebello Hotel Salmon Arm;

• Spences Bridge Hotel Spences Bridge;

• Walhachin Hotel Walhachin;


• Armstrong Hotel Armstrong;

• King Edward Hotel Enderby;

• Lakeview Hotel / Mayfair Hotel Kelowna;

• Palace Hotel / Royal Anne Hotel Kelowna;

• Eldorado Arms Okanagan Mission;

• Oliver Hotel Oliver;

• Reopel Hotel / Desert Arms Hotel Oliver;

• Rialto Hotel Osoyoos;

• BC Hotel / Valley Hotel Penticton;

• Incola Hotel Penticton;

• Summerland Hotel Summerland;

• Kalamalka Hotel Vernon;


• Beaverdell Hotel Beaverdell;

• Bridesville Hotel Bridesville;

• Winnipeg Hotel Grand Forks;

• Riverside Hotel Rock Creek;


• Halcyon Hot Springs Hotel and Sanitarium Halcyon;

• St. Pancras / King George Hotel Kaslo;

• Hume Hotel / Heritage Hotel Nelson;

• Phair / Strathcona Hotel Nelson;

• New Market Hotel New Denver;

• Outlet Hotel Procter;

• King Edward Hotel Revelstoke;

• Reco Hotel Sandon;

• Gates of St. Leon St. Leon Hot Springs;

• Crown Point Hotel Trail;


• Coronation Hotel Athalmer;

• Mount Baker Hotel Cranbrook;

• Emerald Lake Chalet Emerald Lake;

• King Edward Hotel Fernie;

• Queens Hotel Golden.

Room at the Inn will be available in book stores and for online purchases after May 16.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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