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A first for Vancouver: City issues a heritage inspection order for historic house

May 13th, 2016 · No Comments

Huh, never seen this before. The city is really being pushed into doing something. I’ll be curious to see what happens next.

May 13, 2016

Heritage Inspection Order issued for 1550 West 29th Avenue

The City of Vancouver Director of Planning has ordered a heritage inspection of the property located at 1550 West 29th Avenue, for the purposes of assessing the heritage value and heritage character of the property, and to help determine whether it merits heritage conservation.

The action was taken in order to evaluate the home’s potential historic significance: this Tudor-style home built in 1922 was the first Western Canadian house used as a show home to demonstrate the use of modern electricity in homes. This is the first time a Heritage Inspection has been ordered by the City, as a new tool enabled by the Heritage Procedure By-law approved by Council in September 2015.

“We heard very clearly from the public their concerns regarding the potential loss of the historic ‘Electric House,'” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Granting temporary heritage protection to this property is an important first step that gives the City time to properly assess its heritage value and character, and I look forward to staff reporting back later this month on next steps.”

This order is being issued pursuant to section 7.1(c) of the Heritage Procedure By-law, No. 11350 and section 583 of the Vancouver Charter and will remain in effect for no more than 30 days.
While the property is subject to this order, it is also subject to temporary heritage protection afforded by section 591 of the Vancouver Charter, which means that a person must not:

(a) alter the exterior of a building;

(b) make a structural change to a building;

(c) move a building;

(d) alter, move or take an action that would damage a fixture or feature identified in the authorizing resolution, order or by-law for the temporary protection; or

(e) alter, excavate or build on the property

unless this is done pursuant to heritage alteration permit.

Staff and heritage consultants will undertake a heritage inspection and the results will be presented to City Council in a public report on May 31, 2016 at City Hall.


The house at 1550 West 29th Avenue is not listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register; however, it is one of the sites nominated as part of the Heritage Register upgrade currently underway as part of the Heritage Action Plan. It was built in 1922 and was designed by architects Townley and Matheson who also designed Vancouver City Hall. The house was built as a show home by the Electrical Services League of BC to demonstrate to the public the “convenience from a house being properly and adequately wired for electricity.”
The Heritage Action Plan (approved By Council in December 2013), includes actions related to updating the City’s Heritage Conservation Program, the Vancouver Heritage Register and completing the character home zoning review. Consultants and staff are reviewing options to encourage heritage and character home retention and will begin public consultation next month and continue through fall 2016.


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