Metro Vancouver is dotted with incredible heritage homes that will transport you to another time — or maybe just give you something nice to admire on a stroll.
There is at least a handful in most neighbourhoods across region, but only a few have a high concentration of cool, old houses to ogle from a distance (respectfully).
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For full-size, walk-up, elaborate homes, you’ll mostly want to look to Strathcona, Chinatown, the West End, Downtown, Commercial Drive, parts of New West and Burnaby, and Hastings Sunrise.
Get your cameras out and your walking shoes on if you’re ready to see some amazing works of architecture and history up close. Just make sure you’re not hanging around too long, or the owners might think you’re up to something.
This historic mansion was converted into the West Point Grey Community Centre in 1974. Inside, it looks more like a recreation room than anything else, but the heritage features in Tudor Revival style are still strong and stark.
Address: 4397 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver
You can actually go inside this mansion — without committing a crime — because it’s a public art gallery! All sorts have used this space over its lifetime, including Benedictine monks and SFU frat bros. Fortunately, they all respected its original structure, so it retains its heritage status.
Address: 6344 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Although the Galbraith family started living there in 1884, this four-story Queen Anne Revival heritage home was built in 1892. The family became successful in business over the years, running Galbraith and Sons Sash and Door Company and a lumber mill. To this day, the home is gorgeous, featuring a square tower corner and wraparound veranda, among other lovely finishing touches.
Address: 131 Eighth Street, New Westminster
Built sometime around 1911, Hycroft Manor is an absolutely gorgeous Shaughnessy estate despite its intimidating grey facade. The front features six huge neo-classical pillars before a stone doorway with a terrace overhead. The architectural styles vary from Edwardian classicism to Italianate and Beaux-Arts, and its history is just as rich and varied. Industrialist Alexander Duncan McCrae was the first to live here, followed by a military hospital and the UBC Women’s Club.
Address: 1489 McRae Avenue, Vancouver
Tudor Revival-style was popular in Vancouver, and this mansion pays tribute to the style. It’s actually huge, and so is the lot it’s on — 39,596 square feet, to be precise. The 12-bedroom home comes with a coach house and a garden teahouse around the back, and it was named after the original owner’s daughter, Rosemary. He was a lawyer and a liquor magnate, but future occupants included a lieutenant-governor, an industrialist horseman, and the Order of the Convent of our Lady of the Cenacle.
Address: 3689 Selkirk Street, Vancouver
Emily Carr and Justin Trudeau lived here! Technically it’s not a house, but it’s easy to visit because it’s right on Granville, and it has a neat past. The building was first used as the Bank of Commerce, which is part of why it looks so stately in its Georgian Revival style. Now it’s a heritage apartment, complete with touch-ups in 1980 from architect Richard Henrique.
Address: 2799 Granville Street, Vancouver
There’s a near-copy of this house on the same street because they were all designed by the same architect as part of a speculative project in 1904. In the area known as “Mole Hill,” the homes on this tree-lined street are serene and stately, mostly in Edwardian Builder style.
Address: 1120 Comox Street, Vancouver
One of the first-ever versions of the Canadian national anthem was written here in 1908, hence the name. It’s made in the luxurious Queen Anne style and was meticulously restored after being saved from demolition in the ’90s. You can stay in a B&B there now to soak in the history and explore the interior.
Address: 1114 Barclay Street, Vancouver
Some incredible things have happened in this quirky heritage home. It housed an English carpenter from 1903 to 1925, the Canadian Jewish Council of Women for two years after that, and professional wrestler George Pavich from 1956 to 1958. Like many houses on this list, it’s in Queen Anne style, but make it skinny, tall, and more complicated.
Address: 800 Jackson Avenue, Vancouver
A man occasionally called the “Father of the Port of Vancouver” lived in this Craftsman-style home, which is easy to spot for its yellow and green paint and lumber siding. Wealthy politician and businessman Ronald M. Maitland lived there starting in 1929 until it was turned into a nursing home, then eventually converted into condos. It’s part of the Churchill Gardens development and surrounded by greenery and other pretty homes to enjoy.
Address: 950 West 58th Avenue, Vancouver
Although they’re rare in Vancouver, this example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is positively charming. Its stucco exterior, arched windows and doorways, and wrought iron gateways are all part of its original design, but it was painted salmon in the ’90s. The garden here is one of the best parts of visiting, and there are different things growing all year depending on when you go.
Address: 4585 Bellevue Drive, Vancouver
Hidden in its glorious collective garden is Tatlow Court, where 12 stout heritage homes were built around a communal lawn in 1928. They’re grouped into three wings, inspired by both English country living and California’s bungalow courts. Pets are allowed, and you might see some wildlife roaming in the garden!
Address: 1820 Bayswater Street, Vancouver
One of the oldest standing heritage homes in the city, this adorable dove-grey house is covered in wooden ornamentation. Gaze at its twisted rope columns, delicate trim, and stained glass if you’re ever walking around Hastings.
Address: 451 East Pender Street, Vancouver
Sunshine yellow and well-decorated, this house built in 1899 became a B&B. Triple columns on the front porch compliment the box-style build, and the wooden windows are original. Its porch is often teeming with flowers, and inside it’s bright and colourful.
Address: 989 Bute Street, Vancouver
It may be a townhouse complex now, but this Mission Revival-style building used to be the Girls Industrial School, a detention home with a dark history. After the school transferred to Burnaby, the building was used as office space by the provincial government before being turned into townhouses.
Address: 868 Cassiar Street, Vancouver
The same architect who designed the Commodore Ballroom venue also designed this place in 1921. The rolled-eave roof is super hard to find in this city, and it still looks perfect. It’s also one of the largest houses built in Vancouver between the wars, with a total square footage of 12,500. It was owned by the general manager of the Canadian Fishing Company before being used by religious institutions. Now it’s a residential space, but it still has its magnificent ballroom with original features.
Address: 5055 Connaught Drive, Vancouver
Back when this Tudor Revival-style home was built in 1912, it only cost $8,000 to construct. It’s three stories with a cross-gable roof and decorative siding. It was originally built for a barrister and his family and was later purchased by a physician.
Address: 1306 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver
Four townhomes and two detached coach houses in craftsman style sit at the quaint Lodge on Willow and West 23rd Street. It first opened to house the Douglas Park United Church, Douglas Park Regular Baptist Church, and finally, the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis. Very mysterious.
Address: 3891 Willow Street, Vancouver