Sexy Heritage Hideaway Suffers Rezoning

A public hearing will be held tomorrow December 10th at city hall to discuss the rezoning of the 2 story heritage site at 1215 Bidwell street, currently home to Maxine’s Hideaway, a restaurant and burlesque cabaret lounge located in the heart of Vancouver's Davie village.

While provisions have been included to protect and maintain the historic façade, the proposal would see a 20 storey tower with 147 units of rental housing and retail use on the ground floor of the site and would take over 1201 to 1215 Bidwell and 1702 to 1762 Davie St.

Maxine’s, home to Candy Girl Cabaret, has a long and sexy history in Vancouver, complete with call girls, gangsters and possibly even murder.

Original owner, known as Madame Maxine, opened in the 1900s as a beauty and boarding school for girls. However, during the great depression the lower floor was converted into a full brothel.

According to the book The Unknown City, there are two tunnels, now filled in, located beneath the building. One, which exits near the boathouse of English Bay, was used as an access and escape for rum-runners during prohibition. The other, connected the brothel with nearby Rogers Mansion (now the Macaroni Grill) and is said to be have been used by Rogers Sugar magnate B.T. Rogers as his own private access to the working girls.

In the 1930’s, it was used as a hideout for two of America’s most wanted fugitives, one of whom is rumoured to have been captured by J. Edgar Hoover himself.

Maxine’s Hideaway owner J.D. Henderson has made sensational claims that actor Errol Flynn died on the premises in 1959 in the company of a 14-year-old girl, his body being moved to a doctor’s office quickly after to cover up his indiscretions.

Henderson also claims that Maxine herself was murder on the premises and that the Madame's ghost can still be seen wandering the dark basements of the once bawdy house.

The building which now hosts a regular cabaret is on the city heritage register, but has no legal protection, meaning it could see demolishment as early as June 2010.

Maxine's Hideaway is holding an open house at 1215 Bidwell St. Wednesday night so the public can learn about heritage aspects of the lounge by taking in a performance free of cost. Guests are welcome at 7 p.m. to take in the Candy Christmas Cabaret and at 9 p.m. for the Candy Girl Cabaret.