Time Space Equation

The Red Pass Hotel - gone but not forgotten

Leonard Lea Frazer

The Hotel Red Pass, built in 1924.
The Hotel Red Pass, built in 1924.
At the junction of the Canadian Northern Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific line, at the western end of Moose Lake, sits a large railway station right at the fork in the tracks.
The year is 1937 and it’s October 31st. Two local boys, whom on a previous Halloween had pushed a brand new outhouse into the Fraser River, were again up to their pranks. The Sivekie Family History recounts the event. ‘They also altered the railway station’s “Red Pass” sign, by removing the “P”! The new name was very short lived . . . They could have been charged with tampering with C.N. property.’

Red Pass lies within the boundaries of Mount Robson Provincial Park and was once a busy railway village with a population of 96. That was in 1943. Most of the residents were either Section Men or Section Foremen. There was a General Store, with Post Office, Police Barracks, Community Hall, School House and a few scattered resident houses including bunk-houses along the tracks for the railway crews.

There was also the Beer Parlour at the Red Pass Hotel. The hotel was a huge log building that sat up on a hill overlooking the railway. Built in 1924, the ‘Hotel Red Pass’ provided accommodation for passengers who were changing trains, traveling from Prince Rupert to Vancouver. Rooms were priced at $7.00 per night and the hotel’s excellent kitchen made up for the absence of running water.

Red Pass Junction, looking west, showing the Vancouver and Prince Rupert lines on the Canadian National Railway.
Red Pass Junction, looking west, showing the Vancouver and Prince Rupert lines on the Canadian National Railway.
In 1937 the Earl Woodley Family operated the General Store and the hotel, both up on the hill. That year, Jean Bishop was the cook at the hotel and William Bond was the bartender at the Beer Parlour. The 1943 Post Office Directory lists Leonard Campbell as the bartender, Phyllis Funger as the waitress and Frank Woodley as waiter.

In 1933, section worker, Felix Sevecki, settled his family in a rented house in Red Pass. In 1935 he was quick to volunteer to carry out a cumbersome task for a neighbour. The hotel was suffering from a rotting foundation. Felix took on the job of uplifting the walls and making the necessary repairs, including replacing the lower logs. The Sivecki’s daughter, Steffie, also worked as a waitress in 1941 and then as a cook at the hotel.

The community was responsible to provide a School House and pay for a teacher back then. But when the enrollment dropped from seven to three and the Red Pass Teacher got married, that put a temporary halt to local education.

By 1959 there were 35 children and the School House was once again alive. It seemed like the community was really thriving. In 1960 the newly formed Red Pass Chapter of the Anglican Women’s Auxiliary was active. In 1962 the Police Barracks became the Office of the Department of Recreation and Conservation, Parks Branch.

A dining room scene at the Hotel Red Pass.
A dining room scene at the Hotel Red Pass.
However, as families moved away the population dropped. In 1966 there was still a Red Pass School, but with only 16 students. Eventually the students were delivered to the newly renovated Junior – Secondary School in Valemount by bus.

The old ‘Hotel Red Pass’ burnt down in the late 1950s, thus ending an era in that isolated northern community.

The following is a copy of the menu from the ‘Hotel Red Pass’ revealing a wide variety of tasty delights for the weary traveler. 



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HOTEL RED PASS

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MENU 

SOUPS

Vegetable                                        .20      

Clam Chowder                                 .25

Cream of Tomato                             .25       

Chicken                                          .25

Cream of Corn                                .20       

Mock Turtle                                    .20

 

EGGS and OMELETTES

Eggs, any style                              .50        

Omelette, any style                        .50 

 

STEAKS and CHOPS

Small Steak                                   .50        

Salisbury Steak                              .50

T-Bone Steak                                 .75        

Brookfield Sausage                         .50

T-bone Steak with Mushrooms        1.00      

Pork Chops, Plain                            .50

Hamburger Steak                            .50      

 Pork Chops, Breaded                      .60

 

POTATOES, BREAD AND BUTTER, TEA OR COFFEE WITH ABOVE ORDERS

 

VEGETABLES

French Peas                                   .15        

Spinach with Egg                            .25

Stewed Corn                                  .15      

Asparagus Tips on Toast                  .50

Stewed Tomatoes                            .15         

Cold Asparagus with Mayonnaise      .40

Spinach                                         .15         

Fries Onions                                   .15

String Beans                                  .15

 

SALADS

Combination                                  .60        

Cold Slaw                                      .25

Chicken                                         .65         

Shrimp salad                                  .65

Lettuce and Tomato                        .50        

Lobster Salad                                 .65

Salmon                                          .50

BREAD, BUTTER, TEA OF COFFEE
WITH ABOVE ORDERS

 

COLD MEATS

Roast Beef                                     .50          

Corned Beef                                   .50

Roast Pork                                     .50           

Assorted Cold Meats                       .50

Boiled Ham                                    .50

BREAD, BUTTER, POTATO SALAD, TEA OR COFFEE WITH ABOVE ORDERS

 

SANDWICHES

Lettuce and Tomato                        .25            

Ham                                              .15

Cheese                                          .15           

Egg                                               .15

Chicken                                         .35           

Pork                                              .15

Single Club                                    .35           

Beef                                              .15

Club House                                    .50           

Salmon                                         .25  

Denver                                         .35            

Bacon                                           .25

Chicken and Tomato                      .40            

Hamburger                                   .15

Tongue                                         .15           

 Fried Ham                                    .25

 

HOT OR COLD DRINKS

Cup of Cocoa                                .15           

Pot of Green Tea                            .10

Cup of Coffee                                .10          

Glass of Milk                                  .10

Pot of Black Tea                             .10            

Malted Milk                                   .20

 

CEREALS 

Corn Flakes                                  .15           

Milk Toast                                     .15

Grape Nuts                                   .15           

French Toast and Jelly                   .50    

Bran Flakes                                  .15 

Puffed Rice                                   .15           

Puffed Wheat                                .15   

Wheat Cakes and Syrup                 .25                 

Maple Syrup, 10c Extra

 

PASTRY

Apple Pie                                    .10    

Raisin Pie                                   .10            

Mince Pie                                   .15

(With cheese, 10c Extra)     

Cake, per cut                              .10    

 

FRESH FRUIT IN SEASON

Half Grape Fruit                          .15           

Sliced Bananas                           .15  

Sliced Oranges                           .15           

Orange Juice (2)                        .20

 

PRESERVED FRUIT and JAMS

Orange marmalade                    .15           

Sliced Peaches                           .25

Strawberry Jam                         .15            

Sliced Pineapple                         .25

Raspberry Jam                           .15

 

NO SERVICE LESS THAN 25C