Neighbourhood Heritage Tours with VHF offered a chance to discover different areas of the city while exploring a selection of private and community spaces. Past tours include the unique, vibrant Grandview neighbourhood in 2019 and the diverse and culturally rich West End in 2018.
The tours were self-guided and ticket holders could choose which stops to visit and in which order. Volunteers and the ticket brochure offered historical information about each site as well as additional neighbourhood insight.
The tours were enjoyed on foot, by bike or by transit, although parking tips were also provided.
The Grandview and Commercial Drive neighbourhood is one of Vancouver’s earliest suburbs and has been shaped by decades of history. A diverse area and a popular spot to call home for many new immigrants in the past, Grandview today is an energetic, multi-cultural neighbourhood full of historic places, architectural heritage, well-utilized community spaces and legacy businesses. This tour offered a chance to tour a number of heritage spaces in the Grandview area, each telling a unique part of the story. The stops were located between East Hastings Street and East 1st Avenue, and between Clark Drive and Nanaimo Street.
Starting with the opening of the interurban rail line from Vancouver to New Westminster in 1891, there are layers of history to explore here. Now well-known for the vibrancy of Commercial Drive with its array of restaurants, cafes and businesses along with the influences of the Italian community in the post-war years, the neighbourhood that has grown around this walkable district offers a wide variety of residential and commercial development. Once the eastern boundary of the City of Vancouver, the unique vibrant character includes modest cottages, apartments, large mansions, and creative heritage adaptations.
Following on the success of the 2018 West End Heritage Tour, this tour was offered in a similar format with the chance to explore a variety of heritage places including private homes, community buildings and long-established businesses. Included on the tour were ten sites each offering private access to areas not open to the general public. Of the ten sites, five are private homes including a pioneering example of transforming a Vancouver Special and several character homes. Also included are exclusive access to the Dayton Boots Factory, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Templeton Secondary School and the šxʷqʷeləwən ct Carving Centre at the Britannia Community Services Centre.
The West End of Vancouver is a diverse and unique neighbourhood. Development of this area has seen many chapters from local First Nations communities, to an enclave for the city’s elite, a beatnik paradise for the hippie generation and now a vibrant, active community with a varied architectural legacy. VHF’s first self-guided neighbourhood tour offered a chance to learn about the built heritage of the area and its unique history. Ticket holders explored the storied area by foot, bike or car and got inside a variety of private and community buildings. They had opportunity to learn the history of each site and discover its part in the rich cultural heritage and community of the area.
Included on the tour were 15 stops all between Robson Street and English Bay, Stanley Park and Burrard Street. With a wide number of private residences and commercial buildings, the tour also included public spaces that help tell the story of the West End.