AIBC hosts architectural walking tours in Vancouver and Victoria

Yaletown. Photo courtesy of AIBC.
Yaletown. Photo courtesy of AIBC.

Did you know that the Steam Clock in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighbourhood isn’t actually steam-powered? Or that over 11,000 prisms are embedded in the sidewalks of downtown Victoria?

Learn about these and many other facets of B.C.’s capital and largest city through the Architectural Institute of British Columbia’s (AIBC) Architectural Walking Tours, starting July 1. Six unique tours will run Thursdays to Mondays throughout July and August, starting on Canada Day.

Vancouver tours include:

  1. Gastown: Explore how building scale and street layout offer clues to the expansion and relocation of the downtown centre from Gastown to its current location. See how heritage restoration and preservation guidelines and initiatives set up in the 1970s have transformed and renewed this historical part of Vancouver.
  2. Chinatown: Stroll market streets, taking in retail, commercial and residential structures built by some of the founding merchants of this historic district.
  3. Downtown: Discover modern and contemporary architecture while travelling through Vancouver’s business district, home to British Columbia’s tallest buildings.
  4. Yaletown: Learn about how the City of Vancouver transformed this heavy industrial area from a contaminated wasteland into one of the trendiest and most vibrant neighbourhoods in Canada.
  5. The West End: Walk through a mix of historic buildings and explore architectural influences that have shaped this area over the decades. From Queen Anne style homes to 70s style postmodern residential high rises, this tour has it all.
  6. Strathcona: Experience Vancouver’s oldest and most diverse residential area. Strathcona has remained the city’s “hidden gem” for years. Learn how this historical area has survived and flourished over the years.

In Victoria, individuals can tour:

  1. Chinatown: Explore public plazas and back alleys from Yates Street to Waddington Alley and Johnson Street, the heart of Old town. Inspect surrounding examples of circa 1880’s architecture, Market Square and Fan Tan Alley.
  2. Fort Victoria: Learn about the development of Victoria, from a small Hudson’s Bay company fur-trading fort to the provincial capital it is today. Follow the outline of the fort walls along Government Street, and learn about the architectural conservation and re-use strategies employed over time.
  3. James Bay: Discover James Bay, Canada’s oldest residential neighbourhood on the West Coast. Learn about the historic homes of some of Victoria’s most influential residents, dating back to the days of colonial administration. Explore houses built in architectural styles from Queen Anne Cottages to Arts & Crafts, many of which have been designated as Provincial Heritage Sites.

Architectural Walking Tours are $10 and run throughout July and August. Tours are available Thursdays to Mondays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Vancouver and Victoria. Space is limited, so the public is invited to visit, email or call 604.683.8588 ext.325 or 1.800.667.0753 (toll free in B.C.) to book a tour today.