A Walking Tour of Vancouver’s Heritage Houses

This year's tour featured an eclectic mix of period properties from an East Side corner store to two Shaughnessy mansions 

Credit: Martin Knowles Photo/Media

The Disher House, located in the heart of Shaughnessy, was one of 10 period homes on display this past weekend

This past weekend my friend Shelagh and I took in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s 10th annual Heritage House Tour

The one-day event, held on June 3, was a self-guided tour of 10 houses. The properties ranged from a former Mount Pleasant Presbyterian church to a pair of grand Shaughnessy mansions.

Shelagh and I made a day of it and zigzagged through the city taking in as many homes as we could.

Snapshot of Vancouver’s Heritage Homes

We started with a 100-year-old home located on Cypress Street in the heart of Shaughnessy. The original owner was the director of the BC Plate Glass and Importing Company. As a result, the home is filled with intricate stained glass windows featuring literary greats William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The current owners recently completed a substantial renovation of the property. They remained true to the period style of the home, while making it livable for their two teenage boys. The garage even doubles as a band practice space.

We then made our way down the street to another mansion known as the ‘Disher House’ named after the family that lived there from 1916 to 1972. Paradigm Kitchen did a modern spin on an arts and crafts kitchen in the home with a lavender kitchen countertop, white cabinetry with a decorative square border and period hardware pulls. All the light fixtures and lamps in the house were original.

When it came time for lunch, we stopped by El Camino’s on Main Street for huevos rancheros. Loved the decorative red and yellow lights strung from the ceiling.

After lunch, we hit three more homes in quick succession. First, we stopped by Cedar Cottage to visit my absolute favourite new space Le Marché St. George. This neighbourhood corner store features cappuccinos, flatbreads and stuffed croissants. The owners have a beehive and vegetable patch out back, an apartment adjacent to the store and two apartments upstairs, one that doubles as an art exhibition and rental space. Love the store’s crumbling wallpaper that was created by applying plaster and coffee grounds.

Next, we headed down to Strathcona  to check out the oldest home on the tour, a two-storey walk up built in 1892. The current homeowners inserted a light well between the original home and a large, modern kitchen addition off the back of the house.

We completed the day with a speedy tour of a Craftsman style home in Kerrisdale complete with a low-pitched roofline, wrap around porch and second floor sleeping porch.

Can’t wait until next year’s tour. Hopefully, Shelagh will be my tour buddy again.

Check out the Vancouver Heritage Foundation fall line up of tours, including a Vancouver Special Tour and Laneway Tour.