Heritage House Tour

Winner of the 2022 Heritage BC Award for the COVID-19 Pivot Project

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 and in 2022, it will return in virtual format! While we cannot step through the doors together this year, we are grateful for this special opportunity to step inside these remarkable homes virtually.

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.