|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.|
If you’re a fan of heritage homes in Vancouver, you’ve probably wandered the streets of the East End neighbourhood of Strathcona and marveled at the retention, renovation and restoration of historic houses, churches and buildings. It was the city’s first residential neighbourhood and home to Chinatown, the historic Japanese district, Hogan’s Alley, the first Jewish synagogue, the Ukrainian Hall and Little Italy. (Opening Doors, Daphne Marlatt & Carole Itter). It remains a vibrant and strong community today.
VHF’s Heritage House Tour usually includes a home in Strathcona and this year is no exception. In 2015 we are opening one with an intriguing history as shared with us by the current owners.
Built in 1930 by Adamo Piovesan, a longshoreman from Italy, for his wife and four daughters, the house was a latecomer to the block. Its solid brick masonry construction is very unusual for the city, and a style more typical of the 1900s rather than the 1930s. During the depression, the family income was supplemented by selling a shot of liquor and a sandwich for 25 cents from the porch, as well as room and board for the occasional worker.
In the 1940s, William and Nellie Wallace moved in and William ran a transfer business, Wallace Transport, reportedly not always moving legal goods. The current proprietor of a longstanding family business who grew up in the neighbourhood shared a few stories about the house with the current owners. He often visited William Wallace for coffee and says William was a bootlegger and his home was often raided by police looking for liquor and cash, so William resorted to hiding the money in the walls. The current owners have yet to find anything.
If you’d like to get inside this private home, and 13 other amazing historic homes in 9 Vancouver locations, join us on Sunday, June 7th between 10am-5pm for VHF’s 13th Annual Heritage House Tour. You can also hear more about the house from the homeowner this Sunday May 17th on CKNW’s Home Discovery Show. Tune in around 10am to hear host Ian Power chat with the owner about living in such a storied home.
To find out more about the Heritage House Tour including where to purchase tickets click here. Proceeds from this event support VHF’s heritage conservation programs and grants.