It’s back!


The 2009 inaugural tour was sold out and saw over 600 ticket holders visit five homes open on tour. Feedback was so positive that the Vancouver Heritage Foundation has committed to holding this event annually.

Saturday, September 25th, 2010 – 12-5 pm

Register here.

PRE-TOUR LECTURE Tuesday, September 21st, 7 pm

Unitarian Church, 949 West 49th Avenue (@ Oak Street)

(included in the price of your ticket when purchased in August*)

Architect Stephanie Robb of Pechet and Robb Art & Architecture will present her perspective on 10 years of work on Vancouver Specials including a preview of one of the houses on tour. Coupled with the presentation of Robb’s latest project will also be the story of a Do-It-Yourself Special renovation on E 22nd Avenue by homeowner and photographer Scott Massey.


*Pre-tour lecture is $10 if purchased without a tour ticket

Sign up for the pre-tour lecture here
or by calling 604.264.9642

Don’t know what a ‘Vancouver Special’ is?  Now you will:

The ubiquitous Vancouver Special is a fixture in our city’s landscape, predominantly an east side phenomenon. With their flat fronts, boxy shapes, and low pitched roofs, these homes are regionally unique as they were designed to optimize the use of a 33 ft. wide city lot under the RS-1 District Zoning Schedule in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Specials first appeared circa 1965 and multiplied to over 10,000 (est.) examples by 1985. The original stock-plan design, probably drafted in collaboration with local builders and often adjusted to adapt to various lot sizes or client needs, maximized the floor space the City’s zoning would allow at the time and was sold in vast numbers.

In the late 1970s, a house plan for a Special could be bought at a stock plan office for about $65. In those days, all the information required for a building permit (including elevations) could fit onto one sheet. Given the regularity this design was submitted at City Hall, permits were issued in no time. In the 1960s and 70s it was not unusual for a Special to be built in just a few weeks.



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