121-year-old Ladysmith hotel re-opens after 3.5-year renovation

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The Temperance Hotel, which first arrived in Ladysmith 121 years ago, has been refurbished into a boutique hotel.

Owners Stefan Queitsch and Denise Bergquist have spent the past three-and-a-half years refurbishing from the ground up, literally.

“We would do our day jobs, go home and get changed, and then have a goal of scooping 100 buckets a night with shovels. We were in such good shape,” laughed Berquist.

The hotel was moved from Nanaimo in 1900. It was cut into pieces, put onto a rail cart and then reassembled where it sits now.

In the early days of Ladysmith, the town had a large population of single, often transient, men. As an affordable housing alternative, the hotel was used to house miners.

Besides its function as a hotel, the building was also used as an overflow hospital during the Spanish flu, a doctor’s office, and other retail businesses.

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These days, the Temperance Hotel is also pulling double duty.

Besides offering accommodations, the Ladysmith Art Gallery is also a new tenant in the historic building. Communications and marketing coordinator for the art council, Francesca Reside, says the gallery is thrilled to be in the heart of downtown.

“Being in a historical building right in downtown Ladysmith has been so beneficial for us to be able to showcase the amazing artists we have here on the Island and the Gulf Islands,” she said. “We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting for an art gallery.”

Bergquist is excited to close the chapter of rebuilding the hotel and focus on running a boutique hotel business.

“It’s feeling pretty exciting to finally be done. We’re super excited to be able to give this to the town of Ladysmith,” said Bergquist.

The hotel is now available for booking through its website.

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