Capturing Chilliwack on Camera

Writing a blog about Chilliwack’s history and happenings has provided us at the Royal an additional opportunity to meet some interesting residents – people who give back to our community in small, but measurable ways.

One recent connection made was with Ted Sauriol, a long-time resident of Chilliwack possessing a newly-found passion – photography. With an interest in heritage homes and buildings Ted can be found wandering around Chilliwack, his trusty camera at the ready waiting to capture perfectly composed images of Chilliwack’s heritage. His creative use of black and white photography adds to the artistic feel of his photographs while evoking a sense of history at the same time.

3 46290 Yale Road East Stonehurst Manor 1909

Ted is using Chilliwack’s heritage inventory of over 100 homes and buildings as a reference. The inventory, however, has not been updated since it’s completion over 20 years ago and unfortunately some of the homes and buildings have since been demolished (the Empress Hotel, the Paramount Theatre and soon the Irwin Block). With Chilliwack’s lack of a Community Heritage Commission, usually tasked with updating heritage inventories, the inventory is not well-known and is also underutilized. (You can find a copy at the Chilliwack Archives)  These photographs will serve as lasting reminder of Chilliwack, the third oldest municipality in B.C. Thank you Ted!

Recently Ted and his camera were welcomed into the Royal Hotel. Ted was interested in taking photos of the 106-year old interior and exterior of the historic hotel for his portfolio and we were happy to oblige! Below is a link to Ted’s photography blog.

Ted’s photo of the Royal Hotel lobby


Vintage Weddings


Did you know the average cost of a wedding in Canada in 2012 was $22,500 according to the Financial Post (and that figure does not include the honeymoon)? To top that, according to an Ontario wedding planner in the same article, it is not uncommon for a bride and groom to spend between $50 and $60,000 on a wedding! Unbelievable.

It’s easy to see why vintage themed weddings are so popular – just type vintage wedding into any computer search engine – the results speak for themselves. Today’s brides are using all things old and vintage; incorporating the theme in wedding attire, décor, venue, flowers and everything in-between, saving money while creating a one-of-a-kind atmosphere for their special day.

Vintage weddings have the ability to span decades all the way from the Victorian era where roses, pearls, lace, faded chintz and corsets dominated fashion to 1920’s Gatsby themed celebrations where satin, feathers, headbands, pearl necklaces and the Charleston dance represent the era.


The 40’s and 50’s saw women with big skirts, big hair and oozing femininity with their red lips and elegant hats or chic veils with white gloves completing the look. Flower power and free love remind us of the 60’s with long, flowery dresses, free flowing hair, sandal clad or bare feet, wildflowers and the smell of incense heavy in the air.

There are so many ways to incorporate a vintage feel into today’s nuptials. Whether you wear your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress, or that perfect thrift store find, vintage clothing is where you can start the planning process for the perfect vintage-themed wedding. For the guys, I have seen young bridal parties embrace the theme, choosing snappy vests and news-boy type hats for the guys instead of the usual groom’s attire of a stiff-looking (and often uncomfortable) rented tuxedo.

The ideas are endless and only limited by your imagination when it comes to integrating vintage decor into your special day. The options for decorating range from miss-matched china and silverware, mason jars (for candles and flowers), glass cake-stands, metal watering cans, burlap sacks for table coverings, old lace tablecloths and linens, vintage stacked suitcases, bicycles, shabby doors and windows made into blackboards used to display seating arrangements. The artful use of heirloom china, vintage linens, and personal trinkets can add grace and personality while helping set the tone for your wedding.

The Royal Hotel in historic downtown Chilliwack offers an authentic vintage venue to host your wedding. With several meeting room options to accommodate up to 85 friends and family as well as 29 unique guest rooms, our 106 year old hotel property will add authenticity and a unique flair to ensure you and your guests an unforgettable vintage wedding experience.

Romance, Marilyn Monroe and the Royal

Romantics everywhere are fortunate this year – Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday providing the opportunity for romance filled festivities all weekend.

Flowers, chocolates, dinner out, a bubble bath with champagne – all romantic gestures and no doubt appreciated by the lucky recipient but these acts of love pale in comparison to Joe DiMaggio’s tribute to Marilyn Monroe that lasted twenty years. Although the baseball star and Hollywood actress were wed less than a year, (they married Jan.14, 1954) apparently Joe never stopped loving Marilyn. In fact, Joe remained her friend and offered support as she recovered from a failed marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Rumor had it that a reconciliation between Joe and Marilyn was in the works before her untimely death in 1962.
Joe DiMaggio was given the chore of identifying her body and in addition organized her funeral- taking care to ensure the media circus was kept away during the starlet’s service. From all accounts it seems her ex-husband Miller did not attend her funeral. Several times a week starting the day of her funeral on August 8, 1962 and continuing for the next twenty years, Di Maggio arranged to have red roses placed on her crypt at L.A.’s Westwood Memorial Cemetery – a true act of love.

At The Royal Hotel in historic downtown Chilliwack romance is royal. We offer a warm welcome and a place to relax, recharge and rekindle romance in one of our 29 guest rooms.
This year we are pleased to also offer a Valentine’s Day package that includes live entertainment in our show lounge (for two), a Royal guest room, 375 ml bottle of bubbly, hand crafted chocolates, continental breakfast and a late check-out included for $229.00 per couple (taxes included) for Saturday the 15th. This package can be booked online or by calling the hotel directly at (604) 792-1210. Use the promo code VALN to book this fantastic package.

A Road Trip and One Dollar Houses

Where would you be heading if you exited the Freeway at Hope, B.C. wandered through the picturesque small town that hugs the banks of the mighty Fraser River and met up with Hwy 1, heading north? You would be travelling through the Fraser Canyon – the same route thousands of visitors used as they sought their fortune during B.C.’s 1850’s gold rush.

North about ten minutes from Hope is the small town of Yale. Today there are but a few remnants from that period in history where the population reportedly stood around 15,000 – most of the population arriving when word of a gold strike in the area spread. It is hard to imagine – Yale had the largest population east of Chicago and North of San Francisco during this gold rush period! In addition, Yale was the furthest point up river that steamships were able to navigate through. From Yale, wagon roads were literally carved into the canyon rock facings to allow horses (and for a time camels) to transport men and their provisions further up the canyon en route to the Cariboo. As you can imagine, this route was extremely treacherous and many lost their lives before they found their fortunes.

Leaving Yale, you will encounter the first of seven tunnels constructed in 1957 to 1964 and situated between the stretch of Highway 1 between Yale and Boston Bar.
From Yale you will pass through the small community of Spuzzum. It’s tiny. As my father would say to us as kids “blink and you will miss it!”

Hells Gate (open from spring until late fall) is a tourist attraction worth stopping at. You can board a tram for a ride down to view the rushing waters of the Fraser River while taking in the surrounding vistas. It is quite spectacular. Leaving Hells Gate you will pass through several tunnels as the highway hugs the edge of the canyon before reaching Boston Bar. But don’t keep driving through Boston Bar – turn left at the overhead sign that points over the Fraser to North Bend. Once a thriving, although isolated railway town situated on the other side of the Fraser River, North Bend has been connected to Boston Bar via a bridge since 1986. Prior to 1986, the isolated community relied on an aerial cable ferry to transport cars and people over the Fraser. The old ferry has been moved to Highway 1 in Boston Bar. You can now eat your lunch on the picnic table parked inside and learn about the area’s history by viewing the story boards surrounding the now grounded ferry.

During the gold rush, North Bend was also occupied by prospectors but it was the railway’s arrival in 1886 that marked the beginning of North Bend’s growth that included hotels, a store, a post office and houses for railway workers. It was in North Bend where crew changes occurred as a divisional point on the railway system between Vancouver and Kamloops.

Today the population of North Bend still consists of railway workers although since operational changes have occurred in the railway system, those numbers have fallen. Today many of these original railway houses have been bought by “weekenders”, those living in the lower mainland looking for a get-a-way not too far afield. (By the way, North Bend is only about 90 minutes from Chilliwack).

Are you looking for a weekend get-away? Handy with a hammer and power tools and not afraid of hard work? If you answered “yes” then the FVRD has a deal for you! For the sum of $1.00 and a commitment to restore the outside to heritage standards, you could buy a CP Railway house with land included! The only catch is the title does not get transferred until the outside work is completed.

One dollar houses