Heritage House Tour Online

Taking the spirit of the tour online

VHF put a spotlight on heritage homes, their history, design and the distinct character of Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods from September 15th to 30th, 2020. Instead of bringing over 1,000 people together for a one-day tour, we presented several virtual events as well as self-guided tour ideas you can take whenever you like, and more.

2020 marked the 18th anniversary of the Heritage House Tour, our largest annual event of the year. Due to the ongoing public health situation, the tour was not able to proceed in its usual format this time. We look forward to its return in the future.

The annual tour offers a great way to learn about local history and heritage places, highlighting historic homes and heritage buildings in diverse neighbourhoods while also raising much-needed funding for VHF programs and projects. While it looked different this year, our goals remained the same.

Thank You to Our Project Partners


Stonehouse Team

2020 Event Sponsor

Buntain Insurance

Heritage Explorer Mini Map Guides

Take yourself on a tour of one of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods! Available as a downloadable PDF these guides are only a few pages long, and formatted to easily print at home. You can also download them to any mobile device.

Heritage Home Video Tours

We can’t take you physically inside private homes this year, however we can do the next best thing with a series of mini video tours. These short segments highlight unique architecture, history and design of a selection of heritage spaces in Vancouver.

The Tite Residence

A Kitsilano Restoration

A Writer’s Residence

2020 Heritage House Tour Virtual Events

  • A Virtual Stroll in Marpole

    Wednesday, September 16

    Many of us know Marpole as the strip of commercial activity at the southern end of Granville Street or for the blocks of three-storey apartment buildings from the 1950s. But the community is also the site of significant cultural and archaeological resources, and was the location of some of the earliest non-native settlement in what would become Vancouver. Situated on the north shore of the Fraser River which has sustained the Musqueam people for thousands of years, the original small settlement grew into a substantial centre of industry and commerce with canneries and sawmills that employed a multi-cultural workforce including Musqueam, Japanese and Chinese among others. On this virtual walking tour, John Atkin explored the area’s fascinating architecture along with diverse cultural and transportation history. Throughout and after the pre-recorded virtual stroll, there was opportunity to ask John questions live.
  • History on the Street: Vancouver’s House Styles

    Tuesday, September 22

    Vancouver’s neighbourhoods offer an interesting mix of wooden houses, some more historic than others, but identifying the array of different architectural styles can be a challenge.

    From detailed Victorian through Tudor and Storybook to Mid-Century Modern, Vancouver Special and more recent designs, the houses reflect influences both local and from around the world. They span an era of more than a century that has seen enormous economic and social change. This virtual session explored house styles through the decades with artist and author, Michael Kluckner and was hosted by VHF Special Projects Manager, Jessica Quan. We learned how the styles that contribute so much to the distinct character of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods reflect the city’s history. Michael and Jessica offered tips on identifying them and answered questions.

  • A Colour Primer: Vancouver's Historical Paint Schemes

    Tuesday, September 29

    Vancouver’s houses feature a wide array of exterior colour schemes. For over 130 years, architects, builders and homeowners have highlighted architectural features and followed fashions or personal preferences while protecting from the weather with a good coat of paint.

    When restoring a historic home, the choice of exterior colour can be that last satisfying step. In this informative and visual session, heritage consultant Donald Luxton explained the changing use of colour and discussed how it can complete an authentic restoration. We explored the historic local palettes from the 1880s to the 1920s, made available in VHF’s True Colours range, and looked at the different approaches of later decades. Following a colourful presentation, there was opportunity to put questions to Donald.

    Thank you to the Walsh Foundation for continued support of the True Colours program