Vancouver Heritage Foundation Weekly: Heritage House Tour 2016

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Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture.
VPL 5068 Leonard Frank 1929
WilMar in 1929, photographed by Leonard Frank. Vancouver Public Library VPL 5068

Vancouver has some incredible heritage and character homes and we are always eager to tell the stories of the people who once lived in them, and those who love them now. Our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Heritage House Tour, is a great opportunity to do just that. This self-guided tour takes you around the city to see inside nine historic homes, each with a unique story to tell.

Among the houses on this year’s tour is a South West Marine Drive estate home that has captured the attention of media as it sat empty for nine years. A common story in Vancouver, it seemed inevitable that WilMar would be demolished, but now it is on the verge of a new chapter. Built in 1924-25 for Willard Kitchen, WilMar is named for Willard and his wife Mary. Kitchen was a director of BC Rail, then known as Pacific Great Eastern Railway, and had a successful career as a railway contractor taking on large-scale projects across the country. Kitchen commissioned well-known local architects Benzie & Bow to design the home and matching coach house, including space for car and chauffeur, an important new requirement for the estate lifestyle on South West Marine Drive which was still rural at the time. The high quality materials and craftsmanship used in the design are still seen in the Tudor Revival style home. Inside there is original woodwork including some exotic wood and on the exterior, patterned brickwork. Ownership of the house stayed with descendants of Willard and Mary until their granddaughter Judith Jardine passed away and left it to the Vancouver Foundation nearly a decade ago, along with the family fortune. The house is little changed since it was built 90 years ago. Current plans would see WilMar restored and converted to two homes with infill homes added to the property. The tour is a great chance to see inside WilMar unfurnished and before any work begins.

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WilMar as it appears in 2016 Photo Credit VHF.

Other homes on tour offer similar fascinating history, but you need to buy tickets to find out all the details! The guidebook tells the story of each stop, alongside a selection of essays written by leading Vancouver historians, including more on South West Marine Drive estate homes by Donald Luxton. So not only will you be welcomed inside some fantastic spaces, but you’ll also learn about what Vancouver was like when these homes were built.

resizedAM54-S4- Str P334  Marine Dr at Fraser River 1918
Marine Drive at the Fraser River in 1918. City of Vancouver Archives, CVA AM54-S4-Str P334.

Explore this wonderful collection of heritage and character homes, while supporting VHF in our ongoing conservation and education efforts — a great way to spend the day!

Sunday, June 5th, 10am – 5pm

Purchase tickets online here or by calling our office. $40 or $30 with valid student ID
You can also purchase tickets in advance at the following locations:

Benjamin Moore Coast Decorating Centre
4464 Main St. Vancouver

Hills of Kerrisdale
2125 W 41st Ave., Vancouver

At Home West Vancouver
1530 Marine Dr., West Vancouver

To find out more visit our website or check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

This tour is eligible for professional development credits including 6 Non-Core LUs AIBC