Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Mucking About in Boats

Jan 21, 2019

One day last week found me out on the waters of Burrard Inlet doing a ride along in an RCMP patrol boat. (Don't ask).

As well as surveying the various industrial sites around the inner harbour we cruised all the way to the head of Indian Arm where I had a chance to inspect Wigwam Inn (photo above). The old luxury resort is now used as an outstation by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club but it was once a go-to destination for the rich and famous.

Built just before World War One by the mysterious German financier Alvo von Alvensleben and his partner, the Vancouver PR man and journalist Benny Dickens, the Inn had a checkered history. At one time it welcomed movie stars and other high-rollers; at other times, like when it was raided by police in the 1960s, gamblers and prostitutes.

The place seems to be in pretty good shape, with lots of historic photos and memorabilia on the walls. Apparently members of the yacht club or their guests may still rent accommodations for overnight stay, though the rooms seem pretty spartan. But as you can see from the photo, on a sunny winter day the place still projects a touch of elegance.