Heritage Week 2021

Street view with a red heritage buildin

February 15th - 21st

Heritage Week offers a chance to explore heritage across BC and Canada. In 2021, we will be exploring the theme “Where do you find heritage?” The week will include our annual Places That Matter Community Celebration as well as other opportunities to learn and share about Vancouver’s history, diverse cultural heritage and historic places. All events will be presented virtually to enable safe participation at this time.

Photo credit: Martin Knowles Photo/Media

Places That Matter Community Celebration: 10th Anniversary Year!
Tuesday, February 16th
7pm – 8pm
Free, registration required

Join VHF for storytelling and a look at the first 10 years of the Places That Matter project.

Places That Matter launched with a plaque project in 2011 to recognize community-nominated sites that highlight some of the lesser-known people, places and events that have shaped Vancouver. A decade later, with 88 plaques installed, the online Community History Resource continues to grow with community contributions of personal stories and photographs for the 125 sites.

We invite participants, attendees and organizations to share their stories and connections to Places That Matter sites throughout 2021. Stay tuned for more events throughout the year and information on how you can participate.

Urban Sketching Workshop
Thursday, February 18th
12pm – 1pm
Register here, $15

Learn how to sketch with confidence with Emma FitzGerald, author and illustrator of Hand Drawn Vancouver. Explore how drawings can be a prompt for storytelling and get inspired to go outside to sketch your favourite neighbourhood spots or local heritage buildings and places! Emma will also share tips for drawing on location, including intimidating architecture.

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Emma FitzGerald was born to Irish parents in Lesotho, a small mountainous kingdom in Southern Africa, and moved to Canada at a young age. These early travels have instilled in her a keen interest in people and places. Emma has followed a career path that is part architecture, part art, receiving a BFA in Visual Art from the University of British Columbia in 2004, and a Masters in Architecture from Dalhousie University in 2008.Her first book “Hand Drawn Halifax” celebrates the city she has called home as an adult, and “Hand Drawn Vancouver” was published in 2020, sharing her love for where she grew up. Working on location, she sketches what she sees, and writes down what she hears, celebrating both the familiar and unexpected aspects of the cities she draws.

Emma is currently at work on “Hand Drawn Victoria” to be published with Penguin Random House in 2023, and is illustrating “City Streets are for People”. Written by Andrea Curtis it is a children’s book on sustainable transportation in cities around the world (Groundwood, 2022).

Discovering Heritage Places: A Virtual Stroll
Saturday, February 20th
10am – 11am
Register here, $12

Heritage is all around us – sometimes you just need to look closely! Join local historian, author and seasoned walking tour guide, John Atkin, as he explores some of Vancouver’s lesser-known heritage spots and shares the history of some of the buildings that make our neighbourhoods unique on this virtual walk.


Thank you to everyone who joined us for Heritage Week 2020! We’ve created a short video with some highlights from the week. Below that are the full details of events that were offered in 2020. For more videos, please visit our YouTube channel.


In 2020, the theme of Heritage Week was “2020 Vision: Bringing the Past into the Future”. The restoration and adaptation of heritage buildings is key to a sustainable future, preserving community and cultural spaces, retaining affordable retail and residential spaces and keeping usable building materials from landfills, all while enriching our streetscapes and neighbourhoods. The future also includes reconciliation with Indigenous communities and a more inclusive telling of the stories of the past for all communities. Across three events, we explored the role of heritage in our future throughout Heritage Week, February 17th – 23rd.

Places That Matter Community Celebration
Wednesday, February 19th
Heritage Hall, 3102 Main St

Join VHF to learn about the special places recognized in the Places That Matter plaque project, and hear about them from the people and organizations involved in bringing their history forward. This free celebration includes displays from a variety of organizations, institutions and individuals related to Places That Matter sites and local history, a short program of storytelling with our emcee author Michael Kluckner and refreshments. There will also be music from members of bluegrass band Viper Central: Steven John Charles (musical director, composer and musician) and Kathleen Nesbit (Metis fiddler and singer).

Thank you to event sponsor Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association and community sponsors Charles and Lucile Flavelle, and BC Golf House Society. Thank you also for in-kind donations from All India Sweets and Restaurant, Cartems Donuterie, Choices Markets, COBS Bread and Starbucks Reserve.

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Speakers:
Territorial Welcome with Alec Guerin, Self-Governance Community Coordinator, Musqueam First Nation
Heritage Consultant Donald Luxton on the conservation and history of Vancouver bridges
Historian Rob Howatson on the history of South Vancouver including the legacy of Loretta Lynn
BC Heritage Fairs Alumni Coordinator and Grade 9 student Leona Lam
Families of the pre-WWII Celtic Cannery Japanese Canadian community, and current resident
Jan Tollefsen from Heritage Hall, Erika and Kate Gerson

Participants Organizations:

Asian Canadian Asian Migration Studies UBC & INSTRCC (Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies at UBC), African Descent Festival Society, BC Golf House Society, BC Heritage Fairs Society, BC Labour History Society, BC Sports Hall of Fame, Celtic Cannery and Shipyards Communities, Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC, City of Vancouver Archives, Don Luxton (Heritage Bridges), Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, False Creek Watershed Society, Friends of the Vancouver City Archives, Gerson Family (Unitarian Church), Heather Heritage Society & VGH School of Nursing Alumnae Association, Heritage Hall Preservation Society, Jason Vanderhill (Future History Endeavors), Jewish Museum and Archives of BC, John Oliver Legacy Society, Kits Neighbourhood House, Loretta Lynn Chicken Coop & South Vancouver History (Rob Howatson), MAU Collective (Nellie Yip Quong), Mount Pleasant Heritage Group, Nikkei National Museum and Archives, Punjabi Market Renegeration Society,Stanley Park Rock Garden, Talking Stick Festival, United Players of Vancouver, Vancouver Historical Society.

Mid-Project Tour: St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church Seismic Upgrade and Heritage Restoration
Friday, February 21st
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, 1018 Nelson St

St. Andrew’s-Wesley is a historic landmark church in downtown Vancouver, designed and constructed 1930-33. It is currently undergoing a full seismic upgrade and heritage restoration during a two-year closure. During Heritage Week, we are offering a special opportunity to tour inside the church and see the work in progress with project consultants, Donald Luxton FRAIC CAHP and Michael MacLean BSc, P.Eng., LEED AP O+M, CCCA.

Thank you to St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, Mike Maclean and Julia Halipchuck of RJC Engineers, Donald Luxton and Heatherbrae Builders.

Something Old/Something New: Adaptive Reuse and Industrial Heritage
Sunday, February 23rd

Early Mount Pleasant saw residential development spurred on by the opening of the streetcar line up Main Street and west along Broadway, while industry was attracted to the shoreline of False Creek which brought sawmills and shipyards. Up the hill, the neighbourhood’s numerous creeks helped spur on smaller operations including an emerging brewing industry. Today much of that early legacy of development can be found with these former industrial sites adapted to new uses. Join historian John Atkin to explore the challenges and benefits of adaptive reuse with examples found in this historic neighbourhood.