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Empress Hotel

This tall skinny eight-storey cartoon-like structure seems erected in an extended moment of technicolor splendour. A debutante of glitz and glamour in her adolescence. Reputed to be a poorer cousin, with a touch of class, to the grand Hotels of the world with the same name. A logger's favourite place to stay in town on an extended bender up in a crows-nest room with dizzy view high enough for the loggers' girls to google-eye the 'W' turning around and around in the sky high above the Hastings strip. The last Hotel to display the romantic notion of separate entrances for Ladies and Gents on its long-surviving hand-blown neon canopy. A charmed Hotel with a dreamy mezzanine that you can pass through to and fro on your way to the 24 hour 1943 Mount Shasta Cafe next door, or the 1942 Ovaltine a few steps away. There's a chime in the elevator and a stool waiting for you at the bar, if you're a regular and got the pull. Perched precariously at the entrance to the alley of no return that leads to the dreaded back door entrance of the Police Station 'hoosegow' at Main and Hastings Streets. This is the alley of treachery and tribulation. The alley of no return. The telephone pole leans in angst. Drooping wires strung out in lurking shadows. Crows and rodents linger for fallen bits. An alley of hoop and holler. Screech and scream. A soundscape ravine of entertainment for the roomers. The Empress Hotel has the lowest number of calls to the Police Station on the Hastings Street corridor.