Heritage House Tour

Architecture. Design. History.

Sunday June 2nd, 2019

10am to 5pm

$40/$30 (with a valid student ID)


Thank you to everyone who joined us at the 17th annual Heritage House Tour! Check back for details of the 2020 Heritage House Tour or sign up for our enews for information about other upcoming events.

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.

The Ever Changing House: A History of Adaptability
Pre-Tour Lecture with John Atkin

Monday May 27th, 7:30pm -9pm
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 W 7th Ave

This lecture has concluded. Thank you to all who attended.

Many important historic buildings and treasured older homes are part of our city and neighbourhoods today because they have been adaptable to changing needs, lifestyles and function. The 2019 Heritage House Tour will feature a range of houses that have seen adaptations historically or recently – to provide more housing, for use as a school, to meet changing lifestyles or modern energy efficiency requirements. Historian John Atkin will explore 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.

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.

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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 2018, we spent the day touring inside significant and architecturally important heritage and character homes, learned about the history of our neighbourhoods, saw impressive architecture and experienced how homeowners live with heritage. The 2018 tour opened some of the city's most prestigious addresses including the former home of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and a luxurious apartment building that has been home to the city's business elite, creative minds and architecture lovers for 105 years. Lovers of Vancouver's famed "Hobbit House" were excited to see inside a unique home built for a French Baron by the same contractor and we enjoyed the history and exquisite architecture of Aberthau and its renowned Oak Room, as well as access to the Old Hastings Mill Store Museum, open special hours for tour day. Ticket holders were able to see a 1910 REO Model R Touring Car and 1927 Auburn as a special treat. These vintage cars were relevant to the age and history of the tour homes and added to the fun of the day. We'd like to thank the car owners for bringing their classic cars to the tour and for educating and delighting tour goers with this bit of nostalgia.

On May 29th 2018, a pre-tour lecture with Architectural Historian Jim Wolf was offered. A sold out crowd joined us at the University Women's Club at Hycroft for Pacific Pre-Raphaelites: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Vancouver 1890-1930, where Jim explored the craftsmanship of the Arts and Crafts movement in Vancouver that saw the meeting of international influences with local art and place.

Here's a great video from a BC Mills kit house featured on the 2014 Heritage House Tour. Special thanks to James Burton, Claudio Ance, Alix Noble and REW.ca.

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

Old School Certificate 1 credit.

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.