True Colours Palette

Discover the original exterior paint colours of Vancouver

Lying unseen for decades under layers of paint and hidden in black and white photographs was a whole world of colour waiting to be discovered. The True Colours palette contains 35 original colours that reflect the people and places of early Vancouver. 

View the True Colours Palette – Hard copies are available at the VHF office and Benjamin Moore locations. 

Scroll down to see examples of historic colour schemes in different neighborhoods around the city.

When it started, True Colours was a unique program in Canada. Since its inception in 1999 the Program has awarded close to $100,000 in grants. Benjamin Moore Paint has distributed over 2,000 gallons of paint to more than four dozen paint projects. The True Colours Program has won both City of Vancouver and Province of British Columbia Heritage Awards. 

The True Colours grant offered by VHF only tells part of the story – Benjamin Moore retailers in Western Canada have distributed over 15,000 True Colours colour cards. There are many building owners who paint their buildings in the True Colours palette, regardless of receiving a grant from VHF. The impact of True Colours can be seen in neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver. Visit the True Colours Grant page.

Donald Luxton, the Heritage Consultant who volunteered hundreds of hours scraping Vancouver homes to uncover these original paint schemes, reflects on the True Colours Program.

“The True Colours program has been a remarkable experience. When the program started, we could not have anticipated the depth and richness of the historical palette that we would uncover, the interest that this would generate among homeowners and the general public and the ongoing desire for information about authentic heritage colours. What I have learned through this program is how carefully colours were chosen to highlight different types of historic architecture, and how paint technology and appearance was so well understood by the designers and builders of the time. The use of colour was not arbitrary, and was an integral part of design. The restoration of authentic colours has provided another level of accuracy and sophistication in our understanding of our heritage buildings.”

Click on a neighborhood to see examples of historic paint colour schemes.