Hollywood North

What do Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, the Wayans brothers, Lochlyn Munro, Neve Campbell, and Kristin Kreuk have in common with Chilliwack? The answer may surprise you – they have all worked on films shot in Chilliwack over the past years.

The Chilliwack Film Commission has done a great job attracting film and television productions to Chilliwack. As far as locations go, Chilliwack does have a lot to offer. Our city is surrounded by mountain vistas, picturesque farmland and lakes and rivers that can stand- in for a multitude of places. Our quaint historic downtown captures that small-town feel some productions are looking for. The province offers an additional tax credit for productions shooting outside the “zone” of the lower mainland providing a financial incentive to film in Chilliwack. In addition, Chilliwack is a convenient commute for Vancouver based film crews and more importantly, local residents are tolerant of the disruptions filming may cause. As they say in film terms, the location (Chilliwack) has not been “burned” – we welcome filming in our city!

The Pledge, a movie directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson used a farmhouse on Fairfield Island, standing in for a Reno, Nevada home. White Chicks, a Wayan brothers’ comedy had Wellington Avenue downtown dressed as the Hamptons, New York for an exterior shoot in the film.

What is even more amazing is Chilliwack’s Royal Hotel playing the Royal Hotel in Lahore, Pakistan, circa the late 1940’s in the 2007 movie Partition. Both the interior and exterior of the Royal hotel was featured in the film. This epic love story takes place during the violent religious and cultural division that occurred in 1947 India. Although some of the film’s scenes were actually filmed in India, a great portion of this historical drama was filmed in B.C. The rural area around Ashcroft was dressed to serve as the border of India and Pakistan, and downtown Chilliwack’s Wellington Avenue and the Royal Hotel was transformed into Lahore, Pakistan, confirming that movies are really magic.

We invite you to visit & stay at the historic Royal Hotel in downtown Chilliwack – where memories and movies are made!

Below is a link from the Chilliwack Film Commission


Upcycled and Repurposed

Recycle, reuse, repurpose and upcycle – these buzzwords fly off the tongue with ease as hipsters discover new uses for discarded items. A quick search of the internet yields a plethora of everyday items created from trash including old bicycle parts, vinyl records, denim jeans, shipping pallets and everything in between. Creativity is evident when exploring the many re- uses of readily available shipping pallets – saving mountains of scrap wood from hitting the landfill. Pallets can be found crafted into tables, chairs, platform beds, compost bins, fencing and vertical gardens, shelving, and shoe, bike and wine racks. The possibilities seem limited only by the imagination.

Repurposing on a larger scale is what a Vancouver developer is doing with heritage buildings. Robert Fung of the residential development company, the Salient Group made a mark on Gastown converting aging heritage buildings into vibrant live and work spaces simultaneously transforming Gastown into a lively, hip place to be.
The Paris Block and the Taylor Building are examples of two heritage structures in Gastown saved from possible demolition by neglect by the Salient Group; ensuring more of Vancouver’s built heritage will survive. The innovative developer not only restored the buildings but added layers of history and texture to the city ensuring a more liveable, vibrant community. In the once gritty area around Victory Square in Vancouver, the Salient Group restored the circa 1889 Flack Block. The heritage building now provides commercial office space and has contributed to the overall revitalization of the Hastings and Cambie neighbourhood. In 2012 the Museum of Vancouver presented a City Shaper Award to Robert Fung for his restoration of Vancouver’s built heritage and his commitment to sustainable urbanism.

Below is a newspaper article about his current project, restoration of the1899 Trapp Building in New Westminster.

Here in Chilliwack, large scale repurposing can be found in the Young Street offices of the architectural firm Craven Huston Powers. Once known as Chilliwack Firehall # 1, CHP saved the 1940’s late modernist two story fire hall from demolition around 2005 by restoring the upper floor as office space for their firm and repurposing the downstairs for the Chilliwack Business Improvement Association offices.

CHP Architects and BIA offices

P3404 Fire Hall No. 1Fire Hall #1

The Berry Family and the Royal Hotel

Royal Logo - colorBeginning in 1926 with the purchase of the Royal Hotel from D.S. Dundas to Tom Berry Sr., the Berry family’s connection to the Royal would span seven decades. No stranger to the hotel business, Tom Berry Sr. had experience running other hotels including operating the Empress Hotel in Chilliwack as well as hotels in Vancouver, White Rock and Duncan before owning the Royal.

The Berry Family lived in the hotel – which was common practice at the time – despite the fact the family home was located only blocks from the hotel. Margaret Anne Berry was born in 1913 and her brother Thomas Henry Berry, known to all as “Buck” was born in 1916. Both siblings would later go on to run the Royal Hotel together with Buck’s wife Louise.

Buck excelled at many sports including golf, lacrosse and basketball. As a teenager Buck was sent to California to work at a golf course with golf pro Jimmy Warman, where he honed his golf skills. Returning to Chilliwack, Buck kept up with golf in addition to coaching youth basketball. This was the start of his many years of service to the community that would continue until his passing. Many sports teams held their team banquets at the Royal Hotel cafe.

Buck Berry married Louise Irwin on November 29, 1942. Louise Irwin was very familiar with hotel life– in fact she was born into a hotel family and grew up living in the Central Hotel in Rossland B.C, operated by her parents. In 1943 Buck left Chilliwack to serve Canada during the Second World War with the Seaforth Highlanders, returning home to Chilliwack after the war where he would continue operations of the Royal Hotel until 1995.

In 1950 the Royal Bank Building, built in 1906, was sold to the Berry Family and converted to a 300 seat beer parlour, with separate entrances for men and women with escorts, as required by provincial liquor laws until 1964. Beer parlours were also forbidden to serve food, or have televisions or games and the only beverage served was beer. It was here Buck could be found socializing with long-time friends and customers, often engaging in colourful discussions.

Buck could also be found most mornings seated at the round table in the front of the café, off limits to women, sharing stories and offering words of wisdom to whomever was seated at the table. Despite Buck’s outspoken personality he is most often remembered as someone who would never let anyone go hungry or be without a place to lay their head. He did this often without the expectation of repayment.

The Berry Family history remains alive at the Royal Hotel. Photos of various members of the Berry Family can be found throughout the 105 year old Royal Hotel. The Berry family continues to be an integral part of the history of the Royal Hotel Chilliwack.

Image of 1984.081.002, Print, Photographic: P4248 Chwk Mustangs Lacrosse

The Chilliwack Mustangs Lacrosse Team 1938-1939. Buck is in the middle row, first on the left.

Chilliwack’s Oldest Hotel

P824 Harrison House Hotel 1894

The Harrison House Hotel during the flood of 1894 (Chilliwack Museum and Archives)

The oldest hotel in Chilliwack is not the Royal Hotel, although the Royal can now claim the title as the oldest hotel still standing in Chilliwack.

The first hotel in Chilliwack was the Harrison House Hotel situated at the corner of Wellington and Corbould Ave. The hotel was owned and operated by Mrs. Matilda Harrison, a true entrepreneur and clearly ahead of women of her day. Matilda Harrison was featured in a biography profiling this hard working female in the May 21, 1891 edition of the Chilliwack Progress. According to the editor, Matilda arrived in British Columbia in 1878 and went on to build one of “Chilliwack’s grandest and most costly buildings” (Chilliwack Progress, May 14, 1891.) The 1891 newspaper article also went on to describe the hotel as two and a half stories high with furnishings “new and first class in every aspect.” The editor also added “such enterprise, exhibited by a woman is very commendable indeed.”

“Mrs. M Harrison, Board and Lodging” was the sign that graced the front of her establishment.
Matilda would stand at the door of her hotel, elegantly dressed as she greeted travellers embarking from steam wheelers that transported them from New Westminster. The guests were picked up at Chilliwack Landing by stage coach then brought to the Harrison House to experience Matilda’s hospitality and home cooking.

With the abundance of fertile land surrounding her hotel, Matilda planted fruit trees, vegetables and berries in addition to keeping jersey cows. She was able to supply fresh fruit, vegetables, and cream as well as preserves to the hotel kitchen way before anyone heard of the hundred mile diet!

Beautiful grounds planted with flowering shrubs and lawns immaculately tended and manicured for leisure activities such as croquet and lawn tennis games completed the setting. Her gardens were well known in the area and were frequented among residents for simply strolling. The flood waters of 1894 covered the velvet lawn deep enough for canoes to be paddled through the property.

In 1907 Matilda made the decision to sell the hotel and retire from the hospitality industry.

P836 Harrison House Hotel

Beer and Chilliwack – A connection rooted in history

The first annual Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer festival takes place Saturday November 30th at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Surprising this will be the first ever beer festival, considering the history of hop production in Chilliwack.

While I am certainly no expert on the art of crafting beer, a quick search rendered the following facts on hops and its part in the making of the frothy beverage. Hops are the flower of the hop vine, usually grown on tall trellises. Hops, although just one of the ingredients, play a significant role in the production of beer and contribute bitterness, aroma and flavor and also help in preservation.

Chilliwack was at one time a big player in hop production in B.C. starting in the 1860’s and continuing through until the 1960’s when high production costs coupled with the public’s taste for lighter beer brought down demand for the crop. During the 1940’s, according to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, hop production peaked with 2000 acres of hops planted in Chilliwack. Traditionally picked by hand to ensure the delicate flowers are handled carefully, the fall hop harvest saw around 4000 workers provided with seasonal employment to bring in the crops.

History is repeating itself at Sartori Cedar Ranch in Columbia Valley, where in 2007 Chris Sartori started his first hop plants and now has 12 acres in hop crops providing hops to local brewers. Maybe this will be the start of the hop industry resurgence in Chilliwack?

So, back to the first annual Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival. This fundraiser for the arts event is hosted by the Chilliwack Cultural Centre and sponsored by local Chilliwack businesses, including the Royal Hotel. Along with more than 20 breweries offering samples of their craft beer, delicious local cuisine will also be featured along with live musical entertainment. For more information on the Craft Beer festival or to order your tickets here is the link. http://www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca/event/craftbeerfestival/

Located in historic downtown Chilliwack the Royal Hotel is a quick walk or taxi ride from the Cultural Centre. As a sponsor the Royal is pleased to offer special room rates of only $69.00 per room for Saturday November 30. Call the Royal at 604-792-1210 or toll free at 1-888-434-3388. Use the booking code “BEER” to make your reservation at this special rate.

1999.31.19 female hop picker1999.31.16 hop field