British Columbia·CBC Investigates

Balmoral Hotel's broken elevator fixed, residents no longer stranded, after CBC investigation

Residents trapped in a single room occupancy hotel on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are able to leave their homes again, following a CBC investigation.

Residents confined to wheelchairs or walkers were stranded on upper floors, unable to buy food

The Balmoral Hotel is a single room occupancy hotel on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. (CBC News)

Residents trapped in a single room occupancy hotel on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are able to leave their homes again, following a CBC investigation. 

With the building's sole elevator out of commission, disabled residents of the notorious Balmoral Hotel had been stuck in their rooms since October 10.

After the CBC posted and broadcast a story about the problem, the elevator was serviced and is now back in order. 

Some of the Balmoral's residents have also received free groceries, thanks to a local food delivery company.

"I thought, you know what, I might as well do what I can and help them get their groceries," said Leesa Letnick, owner of Smart City Foods.

Letnick said she heard about what the Balmoral residents were going through when a customer bought food to be delivered to the hotel. 

She decided her company would buy about 20 food boxes — a truckload — and she would deliver them to the hotel herself that very night.

Letnick also decided that anyone who wants to contribute can buy a $20 or $45 food box for Balmoral residents — a donation the company will match until the end of the weekend.

In total, more than 50 boxes of food have been provided to residents.

Voted worse SRO in Vancouver

The Balmoral is home to about 200 low-income tenants, who already live with cockroaches, rats and bed bugs. It has eight storeys of single room occupancy units, with approximately 23 rooms per floor.

Rosemary Brown's 200-square-foot-room is big enough for her bed and her walker and not much else. (CBC News)

The average rent for a 200-square-foot room is $675 a month, per person. 

Many of the Balmoral's tenants are on disability pensions and confined to wheelchairs or walkers.

Just last year, the Balmoral was voted the worst SRO hotel on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside by a convention of SRO tenants.


If you have information on this or any other story we should investigate, email us at

With files from Eric Rankin


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?