TODAY: See the Transformation of Vancouver’s Ugly Ducklings

Popular and quick to build, thousands of “Vancouver Specials” were constructed in the 1960s and 70s in blue-collar neighbourhoods all over the Lower Mainland. They have since  become a dominant house type in Vancouver. But, whether it’s because of their economy or their ubiquity, there are few forms of housing more derided in the city than the Vancouver Special.

Personally, I have always considered Vancouver Specials to be the ugly duckling of residential architecture in the city..  To be sure, most are utilitarian and bland on the outside; but they have great bones that offer a unique potential for customization. As somebody who has renovated  a similar style of house in Phoenix, I have been able to see beyond their ugly duckling beginnings and envision them blossoming into amazing homes.

A few intrepid homeowners have done just that by transforming their bland but utilitarian roots into enviable homes that even the most discerning judge would have to appreciate.  This Saturday, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is inviting you to check a few of them out.

The 3rd Annual Vancouver Special Tour will get you inside to see how people have renovated and updated 5 east side Vancouver Specials. There will be four production Specials and one Strathcona “Super Special” designed by local architect Joe Wai on this year’s tour.

So don’t judge a house by its exterior, get inside 5 Specials to see if you really are a lover or hater of Vancouver Specials!


Details: 3rd Annual Vancouver Special House Tour


Saturday, September 24th, 2011


12 – 5pm


$28 +hst. (all proceeds go to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation)


Can be picked up at the VHF office, 402-510 West Hastings, and on the day of the tour at the VHF booth located at Garden Park, 2200 E. 3rd and Templeton (map).

Day-of ticket sales will be available while tickets last at the Info Booth.

More information

Available on the Vancouver Heritage Foundation website.


NOTE:  I will be volunteering in the later afternoon (from 2:30-5:00) at the Joe Wai Special.  If you are on the tour, be sure to say hi!

Yuri Artibise

Yuri Artibise is an experienced policy analyst, community engagement practitioner and social media specialist. I have a Master of Public Administration degree with over 10 years of public policy research, analysis, and advocacy experience.

Comments are closed