Built in 1887, the Globe Hotel is a very good example of the stylistic evolution of a building over time. The original portion of the hotel was predominantly Italianate in style with Second Empire influences evident in the mansard roof and arched dormers. The 1916 addition at the rear was fairly plain in detailing and did not actively impact the overall appearance. The 1936 north side addition echoed the building’s original detailing, including a new datestone and extending its decorative cornice line. A new dimension was added with the application of multi-coloured Art Deco tilework across the front of the ground floor. Although some of the building’s character was compromised by the replacement of the original windows, it retains much of its original character.
The Globe Hotel is significant because of its association with two prominent Nanaimo architects. Alexander Forrester, a local contractor and designer, drew the plans for the 1916 workmanlike addition. Typical of many men of his time, Forrester, in addition to his construction business, was very active in civic affairs, serving both as alderman and school trustee for many years. Thomas McArravy, Nanaimo’s most prominent mid-20th century architect, designed the 1936 addition. Although most of the addition mirrors the architecture of the older building, it was typical of modernist McArravy, to apply a more contemporary element, in this case the decorative tilework that runs across the entire bottom front of the building.
The Globe Hotel has been an important part of Nanaimo’s social history for over a century. Like other hotels built during this period, the Globe provided an affordable housing option for the many single men that came to the City to work in the coalmines.