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 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.
Due to the ongoing public health situation, the Heritage House Tour is not able to proceed in its usual format at this time. Instead of bringing over 1,000 people together for a one-day tour, in 2020 VHF presented several virtual events as well as self-guided tour ideas and three short heritage home video tours to put a spotlight on heritage homes, their history, design and the distinct character of Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods.
You can view the videos and map guides on the Heritage House Tour 2020 Online webpage.Heritage House Tour 2020 Online
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 invited the public into in recent years and what makes the tour special with our ‘Celebrating the Heritage House Tour’ video below.
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.
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.