Events

Heritage Discovery Day and House Tour

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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. It is a wonderful way to explore Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods as well as architectural styles, design ideas, and garden landscapes.

The Heritage House Tour has taken place on the first Sunday in June since 2003.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our sold-out tour on Sunday, June 4th. This event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our amazing staff, volunteers, homeowners, and sponsors – thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Heritage Discovery Day & House Tour 2023

On Sunday, June 4th, we welcomed over 500 visitors to one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, Strathcona in a re-imagined version of the Heritage House Tour.

Eight properties were featured during the Heritage Discovery Day & House Tour, representing a wide range of housing styles – from an institutional Arts & Craft chapel turned artist studio and residence to a Victorian-era cottage and a garlic factory that was converted into loft-style condos. A number of additional sites of interest in the neighbourhood were featured through 3 self-guided discovery routes.

Over 120 dedicated volunteers were on hand to guide visitors through each home and showcase the unique features, answer questions, take photos and help visitors navigate the neighbourhood of Strathcona.

In addition to our presenting sponsor, Equitable Real Estate Investment Corp Ltd., we would also like to thank our house sponsors – Buntain Insurance, Disher Construction Ltd., and Solus Trust Company Ltd. – as well as our friend sponsors – Penfolds Roofing & Solar, Quinton Construction, and Stonehouse Team.

I just wanted to say how much my daughter and I enjoyed the tour this year – we love wandering the streets of Strathcona – and loved touring just one area of the city rather than driving from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

We took transit to Science World and walked to the start of the tour, so better from an environmental perspective too.

I hope you will be able to do something similar next year!

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

House Sponsors

Friend Sponsors

In-Kind Sponsors

Heritage House Tour 2022 Online

VHF’s popular Heritage House Tour returned last year in virtual format! Through a series of curated video tours, two live events (May 31 and June 2) and our exclusive Heritage House Tour web portal, we explored the stories of six unique properties around the city.

We visited a Mission Revival building in Hastings-Sunrise that has been converted to residential townhouses, a 1928 award-winning Tudor-Revival style cottage, a grand Edwardian commercial building, a 1912 Craftsman home in Kitsilano lovingly restored by its current owner, an early passive solar home in Dunbar Southlands, and a Dutch Colonial Revival home in Marpole that has been transformed into a community museum. We will enjoy original interior features, craftsmanship, and unique designs. We explored the history and heritage significance of each building and learned about how they have been restored and adapted for modern living.

Learn more

Past Heritage House Tours

The Heritage House Tour has taken place on the first Sunday in June since 2003. Enjoy highlights of some of the great spaces we’ve featured in recent years and what makes the tour special with our ‘Celebrating the Heritage House Tour’ video below.

Do you or someone you know live in a house that may be a good fit for a future tour? We are always 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.

In 2021, the Heritage House Tour was offered virtually for the first time. Through a series of curated video tours, an exclusive web portal, and two live events, we explored six properties spread across Vancouver. The 2021 tour featured a 1958 award-winning Mid-Century Modern home in Southlands, an 1890s Strathcona home, a grand Shaughnessy estate home, and a 1928 apartment. Participants were able to experience the compelling stories, past and present, of early architects, builders and residents as well as recent restorations and how these distinct spaces have been adapted for modern living.

In 2019, we explored the evolution of Vancouver’s heritage and character homes. The traditional 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 tour also featured 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.