Learn about the state of  heritage and conservation projects in Vancouver today with experts in architecture and design, conservation, city planning and other related fields. These virtual talks discuss issues, local projects and topics that are relevant to the future of Vancouver’s historic neighbourhoods and buildings. The speakers offer in-depth illustrated presentations followed by a Q&A.

Thank you for joining us this fall for our feature presentations on Yaletown Square, The Post, and the SFU Beer History Archives. We’ve announced the first of our 2024 lunchtime sessions with more to come in the coming months!

If you weren’t able to tune in, several of the 2023 presentations are available for viewing on our YouTube channel, including Katarina Thorsen’s presentation on ‘When a Story Finds You: The Babes in the Woods Cold Case and Unexpected Discoveries‘, the 90 Years of the City of Vancouver Archives and the Rehabilitation of Yaletown Square/ MacPherson & Teetzel Company Building with architect Derek Fleming.

You can earn 1 Heritage Conservation Education credit per Heritage Hour or Lunch and Learn, to a maximum of 3 towards VHF’s Heritage Conservation Certificate. Professional Development Credits (AIBC, PIBC, BOABC, BCSLA, AICBC) are dependent on the lecture topic and speaker – talk to your professional body to inquire how to register your attendance.

Virtual Heritage Lunch and Learn Recordings


Learn about the state of heritage and conservation projects in Vancouver today with experts in architecture and design, conservation, city planning and other related fields. Our past virtual heritage lunch and learns discuss issues, local projects and topics that are relevant to the future of Vancouver’s historic neighbourhoods and buildings.

Recordings from past VHF virtual Lunch & Learns are available. A link will be sent for each virtual lunch & learn following your purchase and the video will be available for viewing on YouTube up to a month after your purchase. Price includes GST and PST.

Past Lunch & Learns

March 14 – Learning from Turner’s Dairy: Adaptive Reuse and Preparing for Climate Crisis
Occupying nearly an entire block at W 17th Avenue and Ontario St, the Turner Dairy complex has had many industrial uses over the past 100 years – a luggage factory, book publishing, candle making, and furniture warehouse. Now transformed into a residential townhouse complex surrounded by the bustling neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant, the name recalls the site’s original use as a small dairy farm run by Frederick Turner and his sons in 1911. The meaningful redevelopment of the lot into a residential townhouse complex began 10 years ago and sought to honour its historic roots in its design, including some of the buildings’ original Edwardian features. Join design principal and architect Inge Roecker from AIRstudio for an in-depth look at the adaptive reuse of the site from pre-design to completion. She will provide insight on exciting processes such as deconstruction, material restoration and re-use were implemented, and share how they brought the historic industrial building forward in a contemporary context.

March 9 – When a  Story Finds You – The Babes in the Woods Cold Case and Unexpected Discoveries
In 2003, Katarina Thorsen volunteered as a researcher and student criminal profiler with the Babes in the Woods Task Force. The task force’s goal was to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953. Katarina shared her experiences of working with the task force, developing a profile, sifting through archives, meeting with communities, cataloguing the physical evidence and her unique creative approach to cold case investigation. A newspaper article, dated November 5, 1947, led Katarina on an unexpected 20 year journey of extensive historical, genealogical, forensic and psychiatric research into a Vancouver based Irish immigrant family whose story is currently being developed into a graphic novel. The prologue/teaser to the project was published in 2022 as a limited edition broadsheet, funded in large part by VHF’s Yosef Wosk Publication Grant.

April 13 – 90 Years of the City of Vancouver Archives
The City of Vancouver Archives acquires, preserves and makes available records that document the history of Vancouver and its citizens. In June, the Archives marks its 90th anniversary of doing just that. So if you’ve ever wondered about what goes on at the Archives or wanted to know more about its history, this is a Lunch and Learn for you. Join City Archivist Heather Gordon, Reference Archivist Kira Baker, and Archival Assistant Bronwyn Smyth for a presentation about the Archives, how the Archives is celebrating this nine-decade milestone, and have the opportunity to ask questions in an ‘Ask Us Anything’ style session.

May 11 – Revitalizing the Broadhurst & Whitaker Block
Significant for its Edwardian-Era vernacular design that is associated with the early growth and development of the Cedar Cottage neighborhood, the Broadhurst & Whitaker Block was built in 1910. One of the oldest commercial and residential buildings in the surrounding area, it represents a small, but thriving village that flourished following the establishment of the interurban tram stop at 18th and Commercial Street in 1891. Architect Marianne Amodio provided insight into the revitalization of the building and how its heritage and conservation were considered in the retention and restoration of the historical building and the addition of an infill residential building in the lane.

September 14 – Rehabilitation of Yaletown Square/ MacPherson & Teetzel Company Building
Originally designed by the prominent architectural firm Parr & Fee, when 1290 Homer Street was constructed in 1910, it was named the MacPherson & Teetzel Company Building. A two-storey historic warehouse located in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood, the building housed various manufacturing and industrial companies in the first half of the last century. In the late 1970s, it underwent renovations unsympathetic to the historic building that saw the removal of many significant character-defining elements. Join Derek Fleming, Associate Principal at Acton Ostry Architects for an in-depth look at the 4-year process that saw the meticulously rehabilitation and the addition of a sensitively designed three-storey contemporary addition above the roofline to accommodate new office space. He shared about the recently completed work on the historic building, which included the preservation of the original exterior masonry walls and wood window assemblies, restoration of the missing storefront and significant projecting cornice on Homer Street, as well as the rehabilitation of interior spaces and seismic upgrading of the existing historic structure.

October 19 – The Post
One of the most ambitious heritage redevelopment projects in Canada’s history, The Post revitalized a historic Vancouver icon ensuring its preservation and transforming it into a vibrant destination in the city’s centre. Constructed between 1953-58 and occupying an entire city block, the former Main Post Office is an exceptional example of International Style architecture in western Canada. Designed by the prominent local architectural firm of McCarter Nairne & Partners with the Federal Department of Public Works, the municipally designated building has undergone a significant rehabilitation program. QuadReal’s Vice-President of Development Graeme Scott, heritage consultant Chelsea Dunk of Donald Luxton & Associates, and architect Aaron Petruic of Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership discussed the revitalization of this Vancouver landmark and how its seismic upgrade, restoration, and sensitive rehabilitation were completed in a manner to conserve the heritage value of the building’s central podium while modernizing the site to facilitate its new office and commercial use.

November 9 – Tapping into Vancouver’s Beer History: SFU Beer History Archives
In 1982, John Mitchell and Frank Appleton brewed the first batch of Bay Ale for Horseshoe Bay Brewery, BC’s (and Canada’s) first microbrewery. Mitchell and Appleton opened the way and other craft breweries and brewpubs followed. From the smaller numbers of the 1980s and 90s through the boom of the 2010s, there are now over 220 breweries in BC, including more than fifty in Vancouver alone. While the present might be a kind of “golden age” of brewing, the origins of the city’s independent beer and brewing industry date back to the late 1880s with breweries such as Mainland, Red Cross and Doering and Marstrand. Sadly, documentation from these early brewers and breweries is scarce and much of their history has been lost. In this illustrated talk, Simon Fraser University archivists Melanie Hardbattle and Richard Dancy will discuss how the SFU Archives is working with today’s craft brewing community to establish the BC Beer History Archive, ensuring that records documenting the past four decades don’t meet the same fate. They will talk about the Archives’ acquisition activities in this area, how to access holdings already processed, and future plans for making Vancouver’s long brewing history more widely accessible for research and enjoyment.

April 21 – Expanding Relevance through Decolonizing Heritage
Rena Soutar, Manager of Decolonization, Arts & Culture at the Vancouver Park Board and Julia Hulbert, Arts & Culture Planner at the Vancouver Park Board led a conversation on the expanding relevance of heritage. This lunch-time conversation introduced how the field of heritage planning can begin to decolonize and reckon with difficult histories.

May 12 – The Uncomfortable Reality of Inclusion, Collaboration and Partnership with Indigenous Neighbours
In this illustrated presentation, Janice Alpine, Ktunaxa Nation Business Development Officer/Tourism Engagement, and Elana Zysblat, BCAHP – Heritage Consultant, Ance Building Services, shared how the Ktunaxa finally became the tellers of their own story in the Fernie Heritage Strategy, about their ongoing work together today, and a list of their shared understandings on this type of collaboration, both for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. They also shared some tips, including: “Truth” comes first in TRC; Willingness to Work in Discomfort; How Beginnings Matter; Consensual Language; Taking the Time and Valuing Difficult Perspectives.

October 25 – Exploring the New Heritage Site Finder
Did you know that VHF has an interactive map of buildings and sites found on Vancouver’s Heritage Register? During this lunchtime session, VHF and SplitMango Media shared about the history of the project, demonstrated all of the upgrades to the newly updated Heritage Site Finder, and encouraged the audience to discover the many ways they can use the map to explore heritage places in Vancouver.

November 3 – The little house that could: The conservation of the Coulter House within the HOUSS development
In this lunchtime session, developer Joe Carreira and heritage consultant Elana Zysblat shared the story of this unconventional project, which they saw as an innovative solution to the challenge of preserving the history and built heritage of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, while appealing to the needs of a community known to be a catalyst of industry and innovation. This new and unique strata office, commercial and industrial mixed-use building, developed by Conwest Group, boldly incorporates the 1901 heritage house that stood previously on the site as the focal point of its design.

April 29 – Hollywood Theatre
A much-loved icon on West Broadway, the Hollywood Theatre has recently re-opened as a film, live performance and arts and culture venue. Designed by Harold Cullerne in 1935 for the Farleigh family, the Art Deco movie theatre was one of the last remaining single-screen movie theatres in the city when it closed in 2011. With significant effort by the local film, arts, heritage and residential community, alongside the City of Vancouver and the building owner and theatre operators, the architects were able to secure its future through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement that enabled the restoration of the building, its significant historical features and its use as a theatre. The building retains many of its distinctive features, including neon exterior signage and painted façade and interior Art Deco detailing, while allowing for modernizations that secure its future adaptability and continued use. Architect Marianne Amodio of MA+HG Architects Inc. shared the rehabilitation of the building and how its heritage and conservation were considered.

September 23 – St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church
One of the largest historic churches in the province, St. Andrews-Wesley Church was designed by the architects Twizell & Twizell in a freely-adapted Gothic Revival style between 1930 and 1933. A designated municipal heritage site, it recently underwent a full seismic upgrade and restoration work, which was awarded the 2021 BC Heritage Award for Outstanding Conservation. Heritage consultant Donald Luxton and engineer of record for the project Dennis Gam discussed the completed restoration and seismic upgrade, including how interior and exterior character-defining elements were preserved or rehabilitated and how missing or deteriorated elements were restored.

October 21 – Sun Tower
Designed in the Beaux Art style in 1911-12 by W.T. Whiteway, the Sun Tower is an iconic and flamboyant feature on the Vancouver skyline. It was originally home to the Vancouver World Newspaper. Its publisher, Louis D Tayor, was a prominent figure who was elected as mayor eight times. The paper promoted the war effort during the First World War while also directly participating in fundraising efforts. In 1915 Taylor lost control of the newspaper and the building due to the recession. The Vancouver Sun newspaper moved into the building in 1937 after its offices across Pender were destroyed by fire and it has been known as the Sun Tower ever since despite the newspaper moving out again in 1965. Powell Talverdi and architect Barry McGinn explored the recent envelope stabilization, dome reroofing and restoration work of the building that has been ongoing since 2018.

April 5 – Tamura Building Sheet Metal Restoration
Architect, Mitch Sakumoto, and Eagle Sheet Metal owner, Randy Sewell, discussed one of the last in the series of City of Vancouver and BC Housing SRO rehabilitation’s, Tamura House. The building is a storied part of the Japanese community on Powell Street and now boasts fully restored spectacular metal pediments. The talk covered how sheet metal work is created and how the heritage elements of Tamura House have been brought back to life.

April 26 – Impacts to Heritage of Real Estate, Speculation and Development in Vancouver 
This discussion covered a subject everyone has an opinion about – the impacts of land speculation and development, the foreign-buyer tax and other issues affecting Vancouver’s heritage architecture. When current property assessments are reportedly 95% land value and 5% building value, preserving older homes becomes more and more challenging. Our two presenters were Researcher and SFU City Program Director, Andy Yan, who studies the economics of property values and sales in Vancouver, and Gordon Price, Fellow with the SFU Centre for Dialogue, and former City Councillor and SFU City Program Director.

October 4 – The Mah Society Buildings
The Mah Society Building is the first Chinese Benevolent Society Building in Vancouver’s Chinatown to complete a full restoration. At this talk we learned, about the Society’s history as well as the scope of rehabilitation and conservation work, the procurement process and planning for the future of the building from Fred Mah, James Weldon and Ian Shapcott.

February 24 – Former Remand Centre: Converting a Former Jail into Community Housing
Jonathan Oldman, Executive Director of the Bloom Group, and Naomi Brunemeyer, Asset Manager at BC Housing, discussed the process, costs and community benefits of the 2014-2015 adaptive reuse project that saw the former police station holding cells at 250 Powell Street converted into community housing.

March 30 – Taylor Manor: Creating Supportive Housing Inside a 100-Year Old Mansion
Mitch Sakumoto, Architect at Merrick Architecture, discussed Taylor Manor, a 1915 Tudor residence last functioning as a long term care facility. Recently it was restored and rehabilitated to become supportive housing for homeless people living with mental health issues.

April 27 – St. George’s Renovation and Restoration: Updating a 1913 Gothic Revival School
Robert Lemon, Architect, and Neil Piller, Director of Operations, St. George’s School, discussed the award-winning 2015 restoration of the 1912 St. George’s Preparatory Boys School located in Dunbar.

September 28 – Burrard Street Bridge
Heritage Consultant, Donald Luxton, discussed the scope of rehabilitation work on the 1932 landmark Art Deco Burrard Bridge, as well as the addition of new street lighting, restoration of the original pedestrian lighting, permanent bike lanes and the design that was selected to add fencing.

October 26 – Christ Church Cathedral
Ian Birtwell, parishioner, Trustee and volunteer project manager with Christ Church Cathedral, explored the $9 million, 21-year restoration project of Christ Church Cathedral. Phase 4 addresses the failing shingle roof with a replacement standing seam zinc roof, adds improved structural support and completion of a seismic upgrade. There will also be a new sixty foot, stained glass bell tower as well as a community kitchen.

  • February 18 – Kitsilano Neighbourhood House – Sean McEwan
  • March 25 – Moving Heritage Houses – Adam Knipfel
  • April 22 – Bloedel Conservatory Restoration – Leonard Pianalto
  • September 30 – Mole Hill’s Restoration and Rehabilitation – Sean McEwen
  • October 28 – Firehall #15: Rehabilitation of the old firehouse – Roger Hughes & Barry McGinn
  • November 25 – SRO Rehabilitation Update – Mitch Sakumoto
  • February 26 – The HiVE: Shared workspace 128 W Hastings – Eesmayal Santos-Brault
  • March 26 – The Yale Hotel Restoration and Renovation – Brent Beatson
  • April 30 – Crofton Manor Restoration – Simon Richards
  • September 17 – 564 Beatty Street restoration and addition – Glen Stokes
  • October 15 – Challenges Facing Wood Window Retention – Keri Briggs
  • November 19 – Vancouver’s SRO Renewal Program – Mike Pistrin
  • February 27 – Granville Island: At a Crossroads – Joost Bakker & Dale McClanaghan
  • March 27 – The Quadra Club: The Story behind the Façade – Roberty Lemon & Peter Odegaard
  • April 24 – The Jeff’s Residence Development – James Evans
  • September 25 – The Hudson’s Bay Revitalization – Sarah Bjornson
  • October 30 – Sustainability Case Studies: The Gow Block restoration and infill, a Vancouver Special sustainability lab and a laneway house – Sam McFaul
  • November 13 – Burns Block Rehabilitation – Bruce Carscadden
  • February 29 – Gastown & New Westminster: Economic Revitalization through Heritage Conservation – Robert Fung
  • March 28 – Hastings Park and the Pacific National Exhibition: History & Evolution – Marta Farevaag
  • April 25 – The Role of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the Development of Downtown Vancouver – Michael Gordon
  • September 19 – Planning Tools to Help Conserve Heritage: A Look at Revitalization Projects – James Boldt
  • October 24 – Gastown Revitalization: Against the Grain – Mark Brand
  • November 21 – Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide, 4th Edition – Hal Kalman
  • March 30 – The Downtown Robert Lee YMCA Project – Allan Endall
  • April 27 – The Salt Building: Salt for All – Russell Acton
  • May 25 – Laneway Housing and Vancouver’s Single Family Neighbourhoods – City of Vancouver Planning Department
  • September 28 – Opsal Steel: Restoring Vancouver’s Industrial Heritage – Kim Maust
  • October 26 – Remaking Cultural Spaces for Relevancy in the Coming Century – Tanya Southcott, Kori Chan & Greg Piccini
  • November 16 – The Renovation of the Hotel Georgia for the 21st Century – Malcolm Elliot & Robert Lemon
  • March 24 – Unveiling the Heather Pavilion at VGH: Vancouver’s Newly Revealed Heritage Building – Donald Luxton
  • April 21 – Renewing the Heritage Landscape of Robson Square – Cornelia Oberlander
  • May 19 – The Pennsylvania Hotel Story – Mitch Sakumoto
  • September 29 – Shaughnessy’s Nichol House Restoration and Townhouse Infill – Jim Bussey
  • October 27 – UBC Renewal: Acting on Heritage Value – Gerry McGeough
  • November 24 – Shaughnessy Modernism: Building 1098 Wolfe Avenue in a Heritage Neighbourhood – Clinton Cuddington
  • September 30 – Heritage Projects in Vancouver: An 18 Year Retrospective – Jon Stovel
  • October 21 – All Roads Lead to Woodwards: From Competition to Construction – Scot Hein
  • November 25 – Having Heritage Values Inform the UBC Campus Plan – James Burton