WATCH: The Victoria Plaza Hotel’s had many names over the years and more than a century of memories. Tess van Straaten takes a look back at the building’s long and colourful history.
Long-time Monty’s staff can’t believe the Victoria Plaza Hotel is gone.
“It’s a little bit crazy and upsetting,” says an emotional Wayne Kalnciems. “I’m not going to lie, it’s sad too see a place I’ve made so many friends and worked for such a long time gone.”
Kalnciems started DJ’ing at Monty’s Exotic Showroom in 1996.
“I was the voice of Monty’s for so many years, being the DJ,” says Kalnciems. “I was there for everyone’s 19th birthday or stag party.”
Monty’s opened in 1984, one of several popular night spots to call this historic building home.
“I’m very sad to see it burn down,” says former Monty’s bouncer Tony Hayes. “I saw it the last night there, when we shutdown, but to see the actual building like this burn down is sad.”
Before being gutted by fire, the building was vacant for six years. But the loss is hitting hard for those with a connection to the landmark.
“It’s the end of an era,” says former Monty’s dancer ‘Delicatease’, breaking down. “Just a lot of good times and a lot of good memories.”
The original structure, the Westholme Hotel, opened in 1911 to much fanfare.
But by the 1920s and 30s, its rooms were said to be favoured by prostitutes.
A rebirth as the Century Inn came in 1965 with an over-the-top Arabian Nights theme — complete with a ‘magic carpet’ parking service.
In keeping with the theme, staff sported turbans and harem outfits right out of I Dream of Jeannie.
The hotel’s exotic Persian Lounge was a popular spot for years and so was Ali Baba’s Cocktail Lounge and the Centurion Beer Parlour.
There was even a working model of the nearby Centennial Square fountain in the lobby.
The hotel’s heyday ended in the 1980s and after several names changes, it became the Victoria Plaza in 1988.
And now, a century of memories have gone up in smoke.
“I just wanted to come down and take one last look,” Kalnciems says. “One last goodbye.”