The Fortin Building is a four-storey plus lower level masonry Edwardian era hotel building, located on the north side of West Cordova Street in the historic district of Gastown. It is currently used as low-income housing with commercial and restaurant space at street-level.
Built in 1909, the Fortin Building is valued as an early Gastown rooming house, representative of the area’s seasonal population in the early twentieth century, as Vancouver emerged as western Canada’s predominant commercial centre. Hotels such as this provided both short and long-term lodging, serving primarily those who worked in the seasonal resource trades, such as fishing and logging. Many of these hotels had combined functions of commercial services on the ground floor and lodging rooms on the upper floors, which contributed to the lively street life in Gastown.
The Fortin Building is valued for its association with Quebec-born Georges Wilfrid Fortin. Fortin was one of the first hotel owners in Vancouver and Victoria. He owned the Colonial Hotel on Granville St. in 1903, and later, the Firton Hotel and Café on Cordova St., as well as the Leland hotel on Hastings. In 1916, he enlisted and went overseas with the 103rd Batallion CEF. On his return home from overseas, he farmed in the Fraser Valley for 10 years, retiring in 1930. Fortin died in 1951 after 64 years in Vancouver. He was survived by four sons and one daughter, all of Vancouver.