Opinion Column

The Trump Tower Curse

By Steve Burgess

Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. (Courtesy, Trump International Hotel and Tower)

Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. (Courtesy, Trump International Hotel and Tower)

Halloween is approaching. It's the season of scary stories about haunted locations, and Vancouver has its share. Gather 'round kids and listen to a spooky tale: The Curse of 1133 West Georgia.

The plot of land on West Georgia between Thurlow and Bute has a benighted history. Once upon a time a giant skeleton loomed over the site—the corpse of an office building that was started in the 90s before its developers ran out of money. The bones of the project remained there for years, a ghastly presence in the middle of downtown. A new building was proposed in 1997 but that project died mysteriously. Was it the unlucky address, which with a little shuffling could become 1313? Who can say? But the haunted site had more horrors in store. The skeleton was finally torn down and in 2005, plans were launched for a magnificent 56-story Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Then the financial crisis of 2008 arrived like Banquo's ghost at an open house. Ritz-Carlton withdrew from the project. The Curse had struck again.

And yet the hotel and condo development would soon rise from the grave thanks to a new developer, Holborn Holdings. It would no longer be called the Ritz-Carlton. What was the dark tower's new name? Beetlejuice? Rumpelstiltskin? No. The building would now carry an international brand famous for its hotels, office towers, casinos, presidential campaigns, racial and religious bigotry, crude insults, incidents of alleged sexual assault, boasts about committing sexual assault, etc. It's a name that frightens children on escalators and women on airplanes, a name so infamous that both the mayor of Vancouver and the premier of BC have asked the developer to exorcise and cast it out.

Yes children, it's no mere Halloween horror story: Trump Tower Vancouver is coming. The official opening is set for early January 2017, shortly before the US presidential inauguration. If things work out well for Donald Trump in the US election he might be unable to attend the Vancouver opening due to a competing engagement in Washington, DC. Now that's a prospect that could really keep you awake at night.