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. The 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 talks followed by a Q&A.

This fall, the series will continue in a virtual format this fall on select Thursdays from 12pm to 1pm.

You can earn 1 Old School credit per Evening Lecture 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.

Dome of Sun Tower building.

Sun Tower

Thursday, October 21st, 12pm - 1pm

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 will explore the recent envelope stabilization, dome reroofing and restoration work of the building that has been ongoing since 2018.

About the Speakers

Powell Talverdi is the Director of Capital Projects at Allied Properties REIT, providing consulting support to all regions on capital projects, building standards, sustainability, and energy management. Over the course of his career, Powell has held progressive positions in building operations, facilities management, & construction management.

Barry McGinn is a conservation architect/engineer and heritage consultant with a practice in Vancouver since 1993.  He has been involved in a wide range of extensive masonry restoration and seismic envelope stabilization projects in BC.

Photo Credit: Allied Properties REIT & McGinn Engineering & Preservation LTD

Past Lunch & Learns

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 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.

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 & Naomi Brunemeyer
  • March 30 – Taylor Manor: Creating Supportive Housing Inside a 100-Year Old Mansion – Mitch Sakumoto
  • April 27 – St. George’s Renovation and Restoration: Updating a 1913 Gothic Revival School – Robert Lemon & Neil Piller
  • September 28 – Burrard Street Bridge – Donald Luxton
  • October 26 – Christ Church Cathedral – Ian Birtwell
  • 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