vancouver special

Back for its ninth year, the Vancouver Special House Tour offered by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation gives visitors a chance to get inside five of the now-iconic housing style unique to Vancouver. Incorporating a basic floor plan and simple construction, the Vancouver Special was the ideal invention during the 1960’s to 1980’s, the heyday of their construction.

Special Evolution
[Photo by Jeremy on Flickr]

The self-guided tour serves to showcase how these older homes can be transformed for modern living, including some innovative solutions for housing multi-generational families.

Among the homes on tour this year is a 1975 Special updated by one of the pioneers of Special revitalization, Architect Stephanie Robb. The new design artfully blends memory with modern aesthetics to suit its new owners.

[Photo by Christine Wang on Flickr]

The tour will also take in a 1970’s-era Special with a dramatic new renovation that includes a show-stopping, built-in wrap-around wood dining area that plays off the cedar ceiling. Ticket holders will also not want to miss the overhaul of a home that was once an ode to violet, complete with purple shag carpet and matching walls!

Often utilized for multi-generational living – or as income helpers – the possibilities for two full floors of living space are nearly endless. Visitors will get a glimpse into the variety of ways that homeowners have chosen to personalize and adapt these family homes.

In addition, learn about energy efficiency, talk to owners and experts in construction and materials about their own projects and come away with great ideas for retaining and reusing older housing.

Vancouver Architechture [#1340]
[Photo by Ian Alexander Martin on Flickr]

The Vancouver Special House Tour is bike-friendly this year. All tour homes are located in easy-to-navigate locations on the city’s east side.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation has also partnered with a local bike shop as a resource to cyclists. Stop by SideSaddle Bike Shop on Victoria Drive during the tour to access free mechanical support, air and oil as well as clean washrooms and fresh water.

Ninth Annual Vancouver Special House Tour

Date: Saturday, April 22, 1 to 5 pm
Tickets: $30, students $23 (with valid ID) plus tax; available online

Top image by Kyle Martin on Flickr.

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