The Importance of Vancouver’s Heritage History

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Heritage homes are some of Vancouver’s most distinguished, stylish properties. On top of their aesthetic appeal, they also play a key role in preserving the city’s culture and history, providing homeowners with an opportunity to prioritize sustainability in their real estate strategy.

Let’s dive into what “built heritage” means, the heritage home styles found around Vancouver and why these historical structures are a key aspect of sustainability and the preservation of our city’s character. 


What Does “Built Heritage” Mean? 

Built heritage sorts homes, buildings, bridges, monuments, structures and landscapes defined by their heritage value and/or heritage character. According to the National Standards & Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, “heritage value is the aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual importance or significance for past, present, or future generations.” 

Vancouver is home to a variety of heritage buildings ranging from the late 1800s into the modern era. The municipal government oversees a heritage register, which keeps track of heritage buildings, structures and sites. It’s important to note that the register is not exhaustive, but rather a collection of what’s currently considered heritage status. Anyone can nominate their home or building to be added to the register, as long as it is determined to have “heritage value and/hore heritage character and be at least 20 years old.”

To learn more, check out the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Basics & FAQs page.  


Heritage Home Styles

Vancouver is home to more than 20 unique heritage home styles that span over 100 years of architectural history. These properties are defined not only by their architectural elements, but also by distinctive local styles that make them Vancouver’s own. 

Ranging from Early Cottage designs that date way back to 1890, to more modern iterations like West Coast Modern or the Millenium Builder styles, which began being built around 1940 and 1985 respectively, a “heritage” designation is not exclusive to any single design, style, or construction date. 

Some distinguishing features that define each style include the home’s shape, roof, number of stories, construction materials, types of windows or doors, and much more. Click here for more info on how to identify styles of distinct heritage homes. 

With so many heritage home styles to choose from around the city, odds are your dream home is well within reach!


Heritage and Sustainability

Heritage building conservation and general sustainability are an intuitive match. Reusing and rehabilitating Vancouver’s heritage buildings align with the four key pillars of sustainability:

  • Cultural: Heritage buildings reinforce a city’s history and communal identity, allowing Vancouver to maintain the structures that make it special 
  • Social: Older buildings provide some of Vancouver’s most affordable housing and the majority of its rental housing
  • Economic: Rehabilitated heritage buildings are prestigious places to live, work, and visit, making them a vital aspect of Vancouver’s economy. 
  • Environmental: Did you know that demolishing a 2,500 sq ft house produces 60 tons of landfill debris, while refurbishments can often significantly improve a building’s energy efficiency? 

Not only are heritage homes unique in how they look, but they provide a host of social and environmental benefits that help preserve Vancouver’s identity. 


Curious about Heritage Homes? Let’s Chat! 


Overall, heritage homes are amongst the most unique properties Vancouver has to offer. From their beautiful and unique aesthetics to being a key aspect in overall sustainability efforts, heritage properties are at the heart of our city’s identity.  

Heritage properties are also a critical element in the preservation of Vancouver’s unique history, providing a host of economic and social benefits.

Now that we’ve piqued your interest to learn about Vancouver’s heritage history or purchasing a heritage property, get in touch today! We look forward to connecting with you.

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