Ping! Thud thud thud! Hiss!
The deafening sounds of hammers and riveting tools, of saws and welding machines, continued all through the night during World War II. In three shifts, 14,000 men and 1,000 women worked non-stop around the clock to build supply ships – churning out more than 100 much-needed ships for the Allied war effort.
This all took place at a huge shipyard behind the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier in North Vancouver.
Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier
The modern Pinnacle at the Pier is the best hotel in North Vancouver. And it offers a great alternative to staying in downtown Vancouver.
But before we get to our hotel review, let’s relive a little of the shipyard history…
Where ships were made
As we walk around the heritage shipyard site, we can almost still hear the sounds of steel cutting and blow torches hissing above the mournful cries of seagulls circling overhead.
Back then, it was known as the Burrard Dry Dock (and before 1921 it was called the Wallace Shipyards).
It was the largest shipyard in Western Canada, and over the years, more than 450 lumber barges, ferries, ice-breakers and other ships were launched from this site.
The most famous ship built here was the wooden RCMP Arctic patrol vessel St. Roch in 1928. She made history as the first ship to sail through the Northwest Passage in 1942. (You can see the St. Roch at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.)
Interestingly, the war years were a good time to be a woman. For the first time, women were treated as equals in the work force.
At Burrard Dry Dock, they were paid the same wages as men and received the same medical and housing benefits.
Today, the shipyard is home to a quirky mix of shops, restaurants, seaside walks, yellow cranes and historical maritime artifacts.
In summer, the Shipyards Night Market runs every Friday night, and the place buzzes with live music, a beer garden, hot food trucks and gazillions of stalls selling artisan crafts and organic food items.
Pinnacle Hotel, Vancouver harbourfront
Ready now to know more about the Pinnacle Hotel, North Vancouver?
All of the spickety-clean and well-maintained 105 rooms and studios have a microwave, coffee maker and mini-fridge (you’ll find fresh cream in the fridge for your morning coffee).
The mountainside rooms are less expensive than the harbor-view rooms (both about 300 sq. ft.).
But go for a harbor-view room – they have funky views of Burrard Inlet (which separates the north shore of Vancouver from the downtown area), construction cranes and working barges.
Facing south, the harbor-view rooms are also very light and bright. And they have small balconies too (mountainside rooms only have a Juliet balcony).
Shower with a view:
A glass wall by the tub-and-shower in the bathroom allows you to look through the bedroom and out to the view.
Want privacy? Simply close the wooden blinds.
Traveling with kids?
If traveling as a family, you’ll probably want a studio. At 500 sq. ft. in size, they’re larger than the rooms and have an additional sofa-bed.
But there are no studios with water views (only city and mountain views).
Freebies and amenities?
Yes! Take advantage of these perks:
- Free WiFi and local phone calls
- Morning newspaper service
- Complimentary bicycles
- A very large, fully-equipped, glass-walled gym overlooking the water
- An 82-foot, 5-lane swimming pool (also glass-walled and by the water) – one or two lanes are always reserved for hotel guests (some lanes may be used by the local community center for swim classes)
Lobby Restaurant and Lounge:
Local, sustainable seafood and meat is on the menu in the Lobby Restaurant.
Pinnacle Hotel harbourfront location
You can access the best of Vancouver from this North Vancouver hotel.
It’s only a 5-minute walk from the SeaBus terminal, where a 15-minute water taxi ride takes you from North Vancouver to downtown.
Many shops and restaurants are also within close walking distance.
Open seven days a week, Lonsdale Quay Market has over 80 shops and fresh food stations. (If you just want a light snack one evening, you can pick up fresh home-made soup and crusty bread. Remember? You’ve got a microwave in your room.)
You’re also closer to the North Shore and Whistler/Blackcomb mountains for skiing in winter and popular outdoor summer attractions, like the Capilano Suspension Bridge (a 450-foot swaying bridge suspended high, high, high above the rushing Capilano River).
Pinnacle Hotel restaurant
The hotel also owns the separate Pier 7 restaurant, which sits smack at the water’s edge.
After wandering through the shipyard and checking out the hotel, Pier 7’s daily happy hour (3:00 to 6:00 pm) draws us in.
We make our way to the restaurant’s glass-roofed patio, where we watch the SeaBus gliding across Burrard Inlet, welcome rays of sunshine glinting on the water. As it’s still the tail end of winter, heat lamps and blankets keep us warm.
What to choose? Some drinks, like Sangria, are only a few dollars and appies are half price.
We go for the “buck-a-shuck” oysters to start. They’re served on ice, with all the fixings – shaved horseradish, vinaigrette, cocktail sauce. Gin, ginger and cucumber cocktails are a nice accompaniment.
Then we dive into a delicious lobster Cobb salad and plump, juicy Salt Spring Island mussels in white wine and garlic.
A fine way to finish our visit to the Pinnacle Hotel, Vancouver…
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Photos 6, 7, 9 and 12 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Photos 1, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 14 courtesy Pinnacle Hotel