Heritage House Tour

Architecture. Design. History.

2020 Heritage House Tour now online!
September 15-30, 2020


This year we are celebrating Vancouver’s architecture, design and history with a series of online activities.  VHF is putting a spotlight on heritage homes, their history and the distinct character of Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods from September 15 to 30. Instead of bringing over 1,000 people together for a one-day tour, VHF will present several virtual events as well as self-guided tour ideas you can take whenever you like, and more.

Find out what we have planned over on the Heritage House Tour 2020 ONLINE web page.

Notice Regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
We are conscious of changing health considerations for individuals attending public events due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and are closely monitoring the situation and public health advice. Current ticket holders have been notified of recent changes. We thank you for your understanding and support in this time.

Due to the current health situation, we are unable to proceed with the 2020 Heritage House Tour in it’s usual form. Alternative programming that builds on the spirit of the tour has now been announced at the link above. Thank you for your continued support during this challenging time. If you would like to learn about donating to VHF click here.

The Heritage House Tour offers a chance to explore a selection of Vancouver’s heritage homes, each with its own story, past and present, from early architects, builders and residents to more recent restorations and adaptations. The next tour will include an impressively well-retained 1913 residence designed by American architect G.H. Clemence in the Dutch Colonial Revival style. The spacious rooms and original wood finishes of this home have stood the test of time. Join us on the tour to step inside this unique home and a selection of others.

The tour offers a wonderful way to explore Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods as well as architectural styles, design ideas and garden landscapes. The self-guided event can be enjoyed at your own pace during tour hours. Your ticket is a guidebook that provides information about each home on the tour along with local history and information to help you plan your day.

General Guidelines and Important Information (click to read)

  • No children under 6 are permitted (infants in front carriers are allowed) and ALL attendees must have a ticket
  • Houses are open from 10am to 5pm only. No latecomers or early birds
  • Photography on tour properties is strictly prohibited
  • Pets, smoking or vaping, and cell phone use are also not permitted on tour property
  • Your ticket is the guidebook and cannot be emailed. Guidebooks will be mailed to you or can be picked up before the tour (details provided at time of purchase)

A full list of tour guidelines is provided on Page 2 of the guidebook. Please read these before tour day and contact us with any questions or concerns. We also invite you to contact us regarding restrictions, policies or guidelines prior to purchasing tickets.

Please be aware that designated VHF photographers will take photographs and/or live recordings at events. These materials are the sole property of Vancouver Heritage Foundation and will not be sold or otherwise redistributed, however they may be utilized without notification in Vancouver Heritage Foundation communications including, but not limited to, print materials and social media. If you have concerns about how your likeness may be utilized, please speak with Vancouver Heritage Foundation staff.

Professional Development Credits: AIBC 6 non-core LUs; PIBC, BOABC, BCSLA

VHF Old School Certificate 1 credit

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Are you interested in taking a VHF house tour but not sure what to expect? Read our First Timer's Guide to House Tours here.

In 2019, we explored the evolution of Vancouver's heritage and character homes. The self-guided tour offered a look inside homes across Vancouver, varying in age and style, each with a unique story to tell. The houses dated back to 1895 including the A-listed 1910 Arts & Crafts beauty Hirschfeld House and the 1895 home built for George Weeks that is now a calming wellness centre in a historic square. The homes spanned six decades of architectural design including handsome Victorian detailing, sturdy Craftsman construction and even influential Mid-Century Modern design. The Downs Residence, a 1959 masterpiece designed by Downs for his own family, is a strong example of West Coast Modernism and has been featured in many design and architecture publications as well as exhibitions.

The future of a site is often found in adaptive reuse, which is a key concept in heritage conservation and the retention of historic buildings. Finding compatible new uses for early structures preserves historic materials and maintains a sense of community. It is also a consistent theme throughout Vancouver's housing history. Through the decades and adaptations, the history of each home connects to the people who built them, designed them, and lived in them, and helps illuminate the development of the city, its industries, neighbourhoods and communities over the decades.

On May 27th, local historian John Atkin drew inspiration from the homes on tour and explored the many ways older homes have been adapted through the decades in Vancouver and why this came about – from societal changes and economic shifts to policies that enabled it. With benefits that include maintaining heritage character, distinctive neighbourhoods and community connections as well as making smart use of existing buildings and resources, it is timely to consider the history of adaptability in Vancouver’s homes.

Do you or someone you know live in a house that may be a good fit for one of our tours? We are continually searching for great examples of heritage or character homes to open on our tours. If you'd like to know more, or have your home considered for inclusion on a future tour, contact us 604 264 9642 or by email.

See previous tour brochures below.